Corinthian released Prostars series 20 on the 20th of January 2003, making it their first series release of the New Year. This series comprised of 16 figures, all from clubs in Italy’s top domestic league, Serie A. This was Corinthians first exclusive all Italian range since the Superstars range of Headliners, way back in 1998!
The series really captured the imagination of collectors, no surprise really as it featured no less than 7 first time sculpts, 5 new sculpts of previously released players and a mere 4 repaints of previously released figures, a good line up for any series.
The series sold phenomenally well in Japan, where Serie A is hugely popular, hence why the majority of the later released Select 500 figures are all painted in Serie A club kits.
This series made Corinthian history for a number of reasons. It was the first time Corinthian had ever released a figure for Piacenza and Chievo, never before had Corinthian released a player for those 2 clubs! Dario Hubner was chosen to represent Piacenza, a fine sculpt, made all the more interesting by the facial hair and permed hair style. Chievo had Eugenio Corini released in their distinctive Yellow kit, another fine sculpt and a must for the long term collector. Both Hubner and Corini were not made in vast numbers, as Corinthian new they would not have much ‘shelf appeal’ and would be mostly bought by long term collectors.
This series also heralded the return of figures for both Atalanta and Udinese; both teams had no figures released since the now infamous Superstars range in 1998. Atalanta had Cristiano Doni sculpted and released for the first time, while Udinese has Roberto Muzzi, both are very fine sculpts but are by no means as rare as their predecessors, Morfeo and Stroppa!
Fans of both halves of Rome had new sculpts to cheer, Lazio fans were treated to the first time sculpt of Stefano Fiore, while their neighbours Roma had Brazilian Emerson to add to their collections. Two very successful releases and both figures sold well.
Perhaps the highest profile first time sculpt from this series was that of Fabio Cannavaro. The little Italian made his Corinthian debut, with the player being painted on the Inter Milan away kit from the 2002/03 season. No surprise that the Cannavaro proved hugely popular, a terrific sculpt and interesting kit made for a superb release.
Corinthian really went to town on this series in terms of the quality of the sculpts, as we saw 5 of the worlds biggest stars resulted, all of which were an improvement on previous efforts. Legendary Brazilian Rivaldo was sculpted again and released in the home kit of AC Milan, a terrific sculpt and for me is the best version of the iconic midfielder.
Juventus had 3 figures released in this series, all were re sculpts but collectors did not despair when they saw the quality of the sculpts. The 3 chosen were Gianluigi Buffon, Pavel Nedved and Lilian Thuram, all the sculpts far out shone those that went before them; the Thuram in particular really captured the player perfectly, as did the Buffon.
Despite the host of first time sculpts in the series, it was a new sculpt of a previously released figure that proved to be the biggest seller. Christian Vieri was resulted and released in the Inter Milan home kit, a simply stunning sculpt, loaded with detail. Perhaps the reason it sold so well was down to the original Vieri sculpt, he was first released in Prostars series 2 for Lazio and Italy, however many collectors bemoaned the likeness of the sculpt, so this new version was well received and simply flew of the shelves.
The remaining 4 figures are all repaints of figures released in previous series. Francesco Toldo first appeared in series 11 for Fiorentina; however he is painted into the kit of Inter Milan following his transfer to the San Siro giants. Inter’s bitter rivals AC Milan had all time great Paolo Maldini released in the away kit, with the Maldini first featuring as a Prostar in series 16. Francesco Totti was again released for his beloved Roma, originally released in series 10, so collectors welcomed the chance to add him to their collections for those who missed out first time around. David Trezeguet completes the line up, here in the Juventus home kit, with the figure being the same as first released in series 16.
The blisters produced in the lowest volume were Muzzi, Hubner, Corini and Fiore. Sadly Corinthian decided not to produce any redemption figures for this series, I am unsure as to why this was the case; I personally feel it would have been great to have seen the likes of Hubner, Corini, Doni or Muzzi in an away kit.
The series as a whole sold very well, with the Japanese traders buying into it very heavily. The series even featured in the hugely popular ‘Calcio Italia’ publication. Sorry to say I do not have this advertisement in my collection, so I am unable to detail it here, if any body out there has a copy please get in touch via the ‘Contact Me’ section, found in the left menu.
To read more information on this range, including images of the packaging formats used, please click the link button opposite