Corinthian released ProStars series 40 in the later part of 2008, and this would turn out to be the last regular series Corinthian would release. ProStars series 40 was a 12 figure strong collection and featured players from Europe’s top 3 leagues, the English Premiership, Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga.
Manchester United featured in the majority of ProStar series and they were represented in series 40 by Polish goal keeper Tomasz Kuszczak. This was the first time Kuszczak had been released by Corinthian and a very fine sculpt it is too and simply a must for any Manchester United collector.
Manchester United’s local rivals Manchester City also featured in this series, with Brazilian Elano painted in their colours. Like Kuszczak, Elano was also a first time sculpt and full credit must be given to the sculptor, a superb likeness of the midfielder. Despite the fact Elano was a new sculpt, he was still produced in the lowest numbers, with a mere 1,054 blister pack produced!
The Blue and Red half of Merseyside were showcased here in ProStars series 40; it could not be any other way. Everton fans had Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta to add to their collections. This was the first time Arteta has been released as a Corinthian and as always a fantastic likeness of the player was achieved. Arteta has just 1,055 blisters produced, just 1 blister more than Elano!
Steve Finnan was the player selected for release in this series for Liverpool, having previously featured in the Liverpool Champions League winners celebration pack, so this was the first time Finnan had featured in a regular ProStars series. The Liverpool Champions League winner’s celebration pack was a highly collectable pack, not to mention expensive, so some collectors would have missed out on the chance to add Finnan to their collections the first time around, so this regular series release gave every collector a second chance to add the Irish international to their collection.
Players from Italy’s Serie A had always featured heavily in ProStars series over the years, even having their own dedicated release, series 20, and this series would be no exception. A total of 6 figures, half the series, were of players from Serie A.
Bitter rivals AC Milan and Inter Milan both had 2 figures released in this series; of course Corinthian could show no bias by releasing more figures for 1 team than the other.
Alessandro Nesta and Clarence Seedorf were the players chosen to represent AC Milan, with the Nesta being the same sculpt as used in ProStars series 17. Despite the fact the Nesta was a repaint; he was still released in the highest volume, with 1,687 blister packs produced.
Clarence Seedorf had the honour of being the last figure released in a regular ProStars series, his collector number is PRO1787. This honour was very befitting, especially when you consider that Seedorf is the only man in history to have won the UEFA Champions League with 3 different clubs, he won it with Dutch club Ajax in 1995, Spanish giants Real Madrid in 1998 and then with his current club, Italian side AC Milan in 2003 and also 2007. Seedorf not only won it with 3 different clubs, but also clubs from different countries at various stages in his career, there is no doubting that Seedorf is a World class player.
Inter Milan were represented by Romanian international Cristian Chivu and powerful Argentine Julio Cruz. Cristian Chivu had previously featured in ProStars series 39, so I can only assume his inclusion in this series was down to Corinthian having excess figures which needed using up, or they had to change their selection at the last minute. Chivu had 1,327 blisters released, which was one more blister than in series 39.
Julio Cruz was released for the first time as a ProStar in this series, a very fine sculpt indeed of the tall, imposing centre forward. It is certainly worth mentioning that this is not the first time Cruz had been released by Corinthian, he featured in the Dutch Staatsloterij collection for Feyenoord, released under the Headliners banner some 10 years previous. For me the Cruz is the standout figure in this series, a superb facial sculpt and excellent paint job made this figure a must for any collector.
Daniele De Rossi was released in the colours of AS Roma. This was the first time De Rossi had been released in a regular ProStars series, having only previously been released in multi packs, initially in the Italy World Cup winner’s box set and then the Calcio Italia 4 pack.
Completing the line up of players from Italy’s Serie A is Fiorentina’s Adrian Mutu, with the figure being a repaint of the one released in ProStars series 23. I am unsure as to the amount of money Mutu received for the release of this figure; however I doubt it was enough to make even a small dent in the monies he owes to Chelsea over his sacking due to failing a drug test.
The remaining 2 figures in this series are players for Spanish side Barcelona, who had many superb figures released over the course of 40 ProStars series, with these 2 being no exceptions. Lilian Thuram and Eidur Gudjohnsen were the 2 chosen to represent Barcelona and both were repaints of previously released figures. The Thuram sculpt was first seen in series 20 and the Gudjohnsen featured was back in series 12. Both figures shared the second highest blister production for this series, with 1, 607 produced.
Corinthian once again produced 2 special edition figures for this series, with Julio Cruz and Eidur Gudjohnsen selected and painted in their respective clubs away kits. However, no redemption tokens were produced; instead you were able to purchase the figures direct from Corinthian in sachet format with card, for £5 per figure. In addition, collectors who purchased a case assortment received the 2 redemption figures free; this was perfect for the long time collector who wanted every figure released.
In total, Corinthian produced just 16,123 blisters for this series, which is a very low number indeed, especially when you consider Corinthian produced over 12,000 Edgar Davids blisters for ProStars series 26 in 2004.
9 years on from the release of ProStars series 1 we saw the final series, series 40 released, and a lot had changed since the first series hit the shops to a buzz of excitement by collectors. Blister production volumes had decreased massively, the number of figures per series had also been reduced, however I feel the biggest difference is that ProStars were no longer available in retail outlets, nor were collectors receiving newsletters from Corinthian informing them of new and upcoming releases, a lot had changed since 1999.
Daniele De Rossi
To read more information on this range, including images of the packaging formats used, click the link button below.