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But by 1972 the designers realized that sticker sheets were now an option, and so they produced the same set with stickers, shown on the box and instructions, as well as for the model....
So this 1972 set was among the first... and the no stickers version is much rarer.
What confirmed this for me was this 1971 mini LEGO catalog from Belgium. Any set in here that looks like it might have a sticker... when you look the set inventory up in Bricklink... you see that all the decorations are actually printed bricks. So stickers first came out in 1972.
Look at the back page of the 1971 UK catalogue:
They're still not shown, but it specifically says "Plus transfers for extra decoration". They are stickers, too, not what we would think of transfers, as there's a set listed on BrickLink which says that the stickers have been removed but could be glued back on.
Any advances on 1971?