Corinthian teamed up with italian toy giant 'GIOCHI PREZIOSI' to release perhaps the finest range of international figures ever.
The range was released under the banner of 'Italian Superstars' and was part of Corinthians Headliner range. The range consisted of players from 13 different 'Serie A' clubs and a total of 49 figures were released. The range was fully licensed by the 'AIC' which meant all the kits were official and complete with team badges and sponsorship logo's.
Corinthian released the figures in 2 stages,the first wave of figures hit the shops in March 1997 and comprised of 34 figures from 7 different teams. The second wave of figues were released later in July of the same year and was made up of 15 new figures and included 5 new teams.
It is from this second wave of figures that we get the rarities and most desirable figures,most of which are still hard to find today. All the 5 new teams had just 1 figure released and all of which were 1st time sculpts and were never again released,this was a massive factor in the figures rarity.
Each figure came issued with a collectord card and also a collectors information file.No redemption figures were made for this release and no display stands either.
2 different information collector files were issued,1 for the first release and an alternative version for the second wave of figures. The first collector file depicted 33 of the figures released,the figure which was omitted from the file was none other than 'Stefan Schwarz' for Fiorentina,this meant unless you saw the figure in the shop you were unaware of it's release, hence why he is the 2nd rarest figure from this range.
The second information collector file also had an annomily as it pictured German international 'Oliver Bierhoff' as the Udinese figure when infact it was 'Giovanni Stroppa' who was actually released in the black and white stripes of Udinese,making the Bierhoff an unreleased figure. As the Stroppa was not listed in the file most collectors would have been blissfully unaware of his release and it is no surprise that he is regarded as the rarest figure ever released.
There are many reasons why the figures from the second wave have been so hard to acquire, one is that they simply were not made in a great volume,another is that there was a problem with the distribution with many of the stockists never actually getting the figures.
One factor which is seldom mentioned is the fact that Corinthians are not as widely collected in Italy as they are here in the UK and as they were initially perceived to be a toy, many will have been bought by children and over time their interest will have dwindled, so many figures have probably been lost or forgotten about over the years,hence why there are so few around in the secondary market.
Something else worthy of mention is the error which occured in the '1999 collectors yearbook' in which it listed 'Christian Karembeu' as being released for Sampdoria, he was pulled from the range for reasons i am not quite sure of but he was most defiently never released.
If you are ever fortunate to encounter any of the following 10 figures listed below in order of rarity, then you can expect to make a great deal of money.
The top ten figures from this range in terms of current rarity:
1. Stroppa Udinese
2. Schwarz Fiorentina
3. Andersson Bologna
4. Amoruso Juventus
5. Otero Vicenza
6. Morfeo Atalanta
7. Cruz Napoli
8. Mancini Sampdoria
9. Savicevic AC Milan
10. Casiraghi Lazio
This is only my personal opinion from my own experiences of accuiring these figures and from what other collecotrs have told me in over 13 years of collecting.
This was a truly magnificent set of figures and one which gave us some truly rare figures and fantastic first time sculpts,do you have a full set?
ITALIAN SERIE 'A'
Below is a table which lists every figure released as part of the 'Italian Superstars' range. It lists the player,the club he played for along with his base code. Also listed is the original release date followed by the official retirement date.
Please click on the link button below to view page 2 of the 'Italian Superstars Serie A' release information.