Corinthian released Prostars series 21 on the 24th March 2003, their second series release of the year so far. Corinthian returned to the usual format of figures, after series 20, which was an Italian Serie A exclusive series. This series consisted of 16 figures, with a host of new sculpts amongst them and we also saw the welcome return of the redemption figure, after their absence from series 20.
For the first time ever, Corinthian used individually numbered collector cards, so each blister pack was unique and they also printed the total blister production on the collector card too, so collectors knew exactly how many of each blister pack had been manufactured.
Prostars series 21 also made Corinthian history as it was the first time a player for Fulham had been released. The player chosen to represent the London club was Junichi Inamoto, no surprise given how popular a player in the Far East he was. Inamoto had been released previously, as part of an Arsenal 4 player pack, however this was a whole new sculpt of Inamoto and Corinthian put their money where there mouth was and produced over 16,000 blisters of Inamoto, I wonder how many stayed in the UK though!
Collectors were spoilt for new sculpts in this series, with Arsenal’s Edu and rivals Tottenham Hotspur’s Simon Davies both been sculpted for the very first time. These are two very fine sculpts and both sold well. Liverpool’s controversial Senegalese international El-Hadji Diouf was sculpted for the first time and is my favourite sculpt from this series; it just encapsulates the player’s fierce and aggressive nature perfectly. I was not alone in admiring the Diouf, as he was the first figure in blister too completely sell out, something which surprised Corinthian too.
Chelsea had an up and coming striker in Carlton Cole, a real fan favourite at this time and Corinthian capitalised on his popularity be releasing this very fine sculpt, he was even sculpted with his trademark gap in his teeth, a nice and accurate touch by the sculptor. Despite Prostars series 20 being made up entirely of Serie A figures, we were treated to 2 new sculpts in this series too. AC Milan’s Danish international Jon Dahl Tomasson and Juventus’ Gianluca Zambrotta were both released in a regular Prostars series for the first time.
As part of this series are 2 re sculpts, those 2 being David Beckham and Henrik Larsson. This would prove to be the last sculpt of Beckham in a Manchester United shirt, what a fine sculpt it is too, with his cutting edge Mohican hair style. As you will have guessed, the Beckham was the best seller in this series and Corinthian anticipated his popularity by producing over 20,000 blisters of him! Corinthian produced over 100,000 blister packs in this series, with Beckham accounting for over 20% of them! Super Swede Henrik Larsson was this time sculpted without his dreadlocked hair style after he shaved it off, however that did not deter collectors from adding this new sculpt to their collections.
The remaining 7 figures in this series were all repaints of figures previously released in a Prostars series. Clarence Seedorf made a welcome, and in this collector’s opinion long awaited, return to a Prostars series after first featuring was back in series 8; however this time he was painted in the kit of AC Milan, with the series 8 version was of the Dutchman in the Inter Milan kit.
Gaizka Mendieta featured in series 13 in his Spain shirt, this time however he was painted in his Barcelona shirt. Moustapha Hadji was released in the Aston Villa away kit in this series, having featured very recently in series 19 in the Villa home kit, I personally feel this was too soon to re release the Hadji; however Corinthian reduced the production volume to keep it collectable, with little over 2,500 blister packs of Hadji being produced. Another figure which was release twice in quick succession was Rivaldo, this time in the famous Yellow shirt of Brazil, having just featured in series 20 for AC Milan.
Diego Forlan is released here in the Manchester United away kit, having been released in the home kit as part of series 18, however Corinthian attempted to keep this release collectable by reducing the amount of blisters it produced, with just under 4,500 blisters made of Forlan. Teddy Sheringham was welcomed back to a Prostars series after last appearing in series 14 in an England shirt, however here he is in the Spurs away kit.
Completing the line up is Peter Lovenkrands for Scottish giants Rangers. This was Lovenkrands first appearance in a regular Prostars series but not the first time the figure had been released. Lovenkrands formed part of the Xmas 2002 Rangers 4 pack, where he was painted in his Rangers home kit.
Corinthian delighted collectors by bringing back the ever popular redemption figure. The 2 redemption figures for this series were chosen to be Simon Davies in the Tottenham Hotspur away kit and Diego Forlan in the Manchester United 3rd kit. To claim a free redemption figure you needed to collect just 6 tokens, with 1 token being included in every blister pack, alternatively you could purchase either redemption figure direct from Corinthian at a price of £5 per figure.
Jon Dahl Tomasson
To read more information on this range, including images of the packaging formats used, please click the link button opposite
El Hadji Diouf