Sunday, December 22, 2019

Right Place, Right Time - Panini Kimmidoll Craze!

Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.  Not sure who coined that phrase, but it definitely applied to my adventures in card collecting in Europe.  Earlier this year, we happened to be working our way through Spain on vacation and I picked up some interesting Panini cards featuring Kimmidolls.  As a card collector, I knew I had to have them and then figure them out later.  Turns out, there was a craze that was running (arguably it still is happening) with these neat little dolls inspired by Japanese kokeshi dolls and Panini produced a 108-card set of these Kimmidoll photo cards for the European market.  In fact, these cards weren't for sale in the United States and only sold in Spain and Portugal.  By the time I found these, there were a good handful of YouTube videos up of Spanish/Portuguese collectors opening packs.

These photo cards are rather large (4" x 6") so collecting them can be somewhat cumbersome I suppose.  Ultimately, I ended up buying a few unopened boxes online as well as the album to hold the cards this summer.  I went back and checked a few moments ago and there are none of these photo cards for sale anywhere that I could find (ebay, Amazon) least not the unopened box/pack products.  Panini International does have the option to buy these online as single cards to fill the holes in your collection, but the secondary market seems to have dried up or the craze is over.

The cards themselves are pretty cool.  The artwork is amazing and the print quality is top notch.  Although you can't tell from the scans, the actual doll has a glossy sheen to it while the rest of the card is this matte finish which gives it that matte photo look.  The back has a write-up in Spanish on the qualities of that particular Kimmidoll.  The official Kimmidoll website has all the kimmidolls listed as well as their qualities.  For example, my favorite of the pack I opened (see below) was Yoriko.  I went to the website and this is what is has listed for her:

My spirits is steady and true.
Your steady nature and trustworthy character reflect my faithful spirit.
May your dependable way bring happiness and purpose to your life every day.
Here are the contents of a pack I just opened up.  What do you think?  Something you'd collect?  Oh well, sometimes it pays to be lucky, rather than good.


  1. Neat find, not something you were expecting to pick up on your Spanish holiday I guess!!

    1. Definitely not expecting it in Europe for sure.

  2. These cards are really cool. I received a couple of these packs from you. I kept one sealed... and gave the other one to my friend who owns several kokeshi dolls that I've given her over the years. The actual dolls are really cool. They're wooden and have a slot at the bottom where you can insert a special note. I even bought a few for my mom years ago.

    1. Surprisingly, this was the first pack I opened of this stuff. What attracts me the most to these is the artwork, but then again I am a sucker for a beautiful kimono bolt. I’ve got more packs if you want some and want to open a few.

    2. I would have taken an extra one if my mom was around. It would have been cool to see her open up a pack and comment on these. You're absolutely right, the artwork is beautiful. The patterns on kimonos in general are truly breathtaking.