Corinthian Prostars series 17 will forever be known as the series which almost gave the collectors world Real Madrid figures. Corinthian originally planned series 17 to consist of 16 figures, as it was; it ended up only have 12, as sadly 4 had to be dropped from the series.
This was to be the last figure release for the 2001/02 season and was officially launched at the 2002 Corinthian Convention on the 25th of May. Collectors unable to attend the Convention were able to purchase the figures in sachet format only from Corinthian direct, or via one of Corinthian’s official resellers from the 10th June.
In February 2002 Corinthian shook the collector’s world by announcing they had at long last acquired the license to produce figures for Real Madrid. Corinthian had long struggled to acquire this license but it seemed they had finally managed it and quickly set to work on releasing figures for this giant of a club.
At this time Real Madrid’s squad real like a who’s who of world football, boasting talent like Zidane, Raul, Figo and Roberto Carlos and it was these 4 players who were to be the very first figures released in the colours of Real Madrid, as part of series 17 and they would be painted in the Real Madrid Champions League kit.
Unfortunately these 4 figures were never released as Real Madrid could not agree image right terms with some of their players, so sadly the figures were dropped from the series. Corinthian saw this as a temporary set back and worked tirelessly to resolve this matter but to no avail, and in March 2003 they announced that due to expensive image rights requested by some of Real Madrid players, it would not be commercially viable to produce the figures, put simply, the players at Real Madrid were demanding to much money for the right to use their image in a Real Madrid kit.
The 4 intended figures for series 17 had already featured heavily in the advertising for the series and also appeared on the collector information file issued with the series and had even been assigned collector numbers, which were:
Roberto Carlos - PRO623
Zinedine Zidane - PRO624
Luis Figo - PRO625
Raul was also intended to be released in the Real Madrid away kit as a redemption figure for the series, of course this figure was dropped, in it's place was Raul in the Spain White away kit. The other redemption figure was Henry in the Arsenal Gold away kit, collectors needed just 6 tokens to clam a redemption figure.
After all that I suppose I had better detail the figures which were released, as sadly the series was hugely overshadowed by the omission of the Real Madrid figures. From the 12 which were released, only 1 figure was a first time sculpt, this was Alessandro Nesta who was released in Lazio’s Champions League kit, a fine sculpt and one used for many subsequent releases of the player.
Of the remaining 10 figures, 2 were new sculpts of figures previously released, those 2 being Filippo Inzaghi and Alessandro Del Piero. Both were vast improvements on previous sculpts. The Del Piero bore a resemblance to the one recently released in series 16, as it had the same body pose but the facial sculpt had been re-worked. Inzaghi had only previously been released in the Italian national kit, way back in 1997 as part of the Italian Superstars range of Headliners, so it was great to see a new and updated release of the iconic goal poacher.
The remaining 10 figures are all repaints of figures previously released but despite this fact the range still sold incredibly well, the reason being was that most of the figures were painted in away kits or Champions League kits, as opposed to the usual home kit, so it gave collectors new kits to display.
As always Manchester United were well represented and had Beckham and Veron released, both in the Gold away kit. The Beckham sculpt was the same as used in the recent series 15 and Veron is the same sculpt as we saw in series 14. It will come as no surprise to read that Beckham was the best seller from this range, as he always was, however I do not think this would have been the case if the Real Madrid figures had been released! Michael Owen was released In the Liverpool Champions League kit and was the same sculpt used in series 11. Thierry Henry was released in the Arsenal home kit, with the sculpt being the same as used in the recent series 16 release.
Italian giants Roma had Batistuta and Totti released, with Batigoal in the away kit and Totti in the Champions League away kit. The Batistuta was the same sculpt from series 11 and the Totti had been used before too, as part of series 10. Lazio’s Argentine hit man Crespo was once again released, we first saw this sculpt in series 11 but here he is in the Lazio home kit.
Paolo Maldini has been released as a Prostar on numerous occasions, however it may surprise a few of you to read this was the very first time he had been released as a single blister in his domestic club kit, up until now he had featured in multi packs or in his national kit! Completing the series is Brazilian Rivaldo, who we see here in the Barcelona home kit, with the sculpt being the same as was used in series 4.
Of course Beckham was the top seller but others like Owen, Nesta and Del Piero also sold very well, no surprise with the Nesta given how it was the first time he had been released. The figures produced in the lowest volume were Maldini, Crespo, Nesta and Henry.
Some collectors do actually possess test figures of those 4 Real Madrid figures in the Champions League kit, whether they are genuine or not is very much open to debate. Given the late pull of the figures from the range, it is logical to assume they had already been painted and were awaiting final approval, so chances are some did ‘escape’ the factory and find their way onto the market via one avenue or another. They occasional surface today and can sell for around the £50 mark.
Collectors have claimed to have seen blister packs of the 4 Real Madrid figures, all boxed up ready to be shipped, I have never seen this myself, nor been sent proof to validate this claim, so I am very sceptical to accept it as fact.
Still a very nice set of figures but had it included the 4 Real Madrid figures as originally planned, I feel it would have been the fastest selling series in prostar history up to that point.
Champions League kit
Champions League kit
Juan Sebastian Veron
Alessandro Del Piero
Champions League kit
To read more information on this range, including images of the packaging formats used, please click the link button opposite