Corinthian took a break from the usual formatted line up to release a series of players from 1 position. Prostars series 26 Midfield Maestros was released on the 25th of October 2004 and was Corinthians first series release of the 2004/05 season. This series featured 16 figures, all of whom are; as the series title suggests, midfielders.
This series made Corinthian history, as it was the first regular series to feature players from Bolton Wanderers. Corinthian released 2 figures in the kit of Bolton, with Jay Jay Okocha and Ivan Campo chosen to represent the club. Okocha was released as the 2004 convention special in his native Nigerian kit; however this was the first time he had been released in a regular Prostars series. Okocha was joined by team mate Ivan Campo, who had recently joined the club from Real Madrid. The Campo is a superb sculpt and proved to be an instant hit with collectors.
Corinthian had to make a last minute change to one of the figures released in this series. Simone Perrotta was sculpted for the first time and originally intended to be released in the kit of Chievo, however he transferred to Roma in the summer, so to avoid disappointing collectors the figure was repainted into a Roma kit. As Perrotta was originally intended to be released for Chievo, Corinthian produced him in quite low numbers, in fact only 1,879 blisters of Perrotta were manufactured and as a result he became very hard to find as there were simply not enough blisters to meet the demand.
Due to this change the series now featured 2 players from Roma, as Damiano Tommasi was also sculpted and released for the first time, a very fine sculpt too and like Campo he too was sculpted with his trademark perm hairstyle.
This series was a huge success with collectors in the Far East, due in large to the release of Shunsuke Nakamura, who became the first figure to be released in the kit of Reggina. Corinthian knew demand for the Nakamura would be high and produced 8,737 blisters of the skilful Japanese international, which accounted for around 15% of the total blisters produced for this series.
Edgar Davids was always a popular figure to release and had not featured in a regular Prostars series since series 2! Collectors went mad for this new release and although he was made in the highest volume, with over 12,000 blisters made, which was about 20% of all blisters produced in this series, he was still hard to find and was the best seller in the series.
Fans of Chelsea had 2 new sculpts to add to their collections, with winger Arjen Robben and midfield general Claude Makelele both released for the first time. The 2 Chelsea figures sold incredibly well, with Robben proving the more popular.
Shawn Wright-Philips was terrorising defences with his pace and skill, so it was no surprise to see him included in this series in the kit of Manchester City, the first time the player had been released. City’s rivals Manchester United also had a new sculpt released, with Darren Fletcher chosen to represent the famous club. Fletcher was joined by the long serving Roy Keane, with the Keane sculpt being the same as used in series 10.
Patrick Vieira was again released for Arsenal, with the sculpt being, like Keane, the same as used in series 10. Liverpool fans were not forgotten about, with Australian international Harry Kewell re sculpted. This new sculpt of Kewell is a vast improvement on the one which was released in series 5.
Juninho was again released for Middlesbrough, however this was the firs time he had been released as a Prostar and had not featured in a Corinthian range since 1996, a fine new sculpt and a great addition to the collection.
Completing the series line up are AC Milan’s Portuguese international Manuel Rui Costa and Inter Milan’s Javier Zanetti. Both figures are re sculpts and I feel both are improvements on the previous releases and Zanetti had not featured in a regular Prostars series since series 9.
Corinthian once again produced 2 redemption figures to accompany the series and the choices were obvious. Edgar Davids and Shunsuke Nakamura were both painted in their respective team’s away kit. Collectors could claim a free redemption figure by collecting just 6 tokens, or they could be purchased from Corinthian directly at a price of £5 each.
The whole series sold well, with many collectors choosing to purchase the case assortment, with each case containing all 16 blisters along with the 2 redemption figures.
The Platinum packs produced for this series were all individually stamped with issue numbers, making each blister unique. No more than 360 of each Platinum were produced, with Davids and Nakamura being the most sought after, with collectors valuing those with low issue numbers.
Given how well this series sold, Corinthian decided to continue the themed idea for the next few series, with series 27 to be made up entirely of Strikers!
Manuel Rui Costa
To read more information on this range, including images of the packaging formats used, please click the link button opposite.
Jay Jay Okocha