The Corinthian ProStars Elite range was a very special series of figures and unique in the history of Corinthian figures for a number of reasons. The figures were all brand new sculpts, and once used in this range the sculpt would be retired and never used again, with the sculpting of these figures amongst the best work Corinthian ever produced.
The ProStars Elite range replaced the Collector Club Special Edition series (CCSE), with the idea being to drive and increase collector club membership, by offering this exclusive product. The CCSE series was by no means a failure, but the general feedback was that although the figures were painted in new kits, they were of figures which had already been released, so it lacked that special and exclusive element which the dedicated collector demanded.
The figures did not come in blister pack, window box or sachet format, Corinthian designed a whole new and exclusive packaging design for this ultra special product. The figures were released as a set of 2, home and away kit, with the packaging being a solid box with 2 clear windows so the figures could be seen without removing them from the packaging. 2 circular Velcro pads held the lid shut, once opened, above the figures were the 2 individually numbered collector cards. On the reverse of the box was the individually numbered certificate of authenticity, which was in a clear window, so just like the figures, it could be seen without removing it from the packaging.
It was clear a vast amount of thought and detail had been poured into this product, which is a large reason as to why it has always remained highly collectible. There are 24 separate players in the series, with each player being done in home and away kit, making a total of 48 Corinthian ProStars Elite figures to collect.
The first Corinthian ProStars Elite pack was released in July 2004, with another pack being released every month there after, until the last pack was released, in June 2006. Upon it's initial release, each pack had a suggested retail price of £14.99 which even then was seen as excellent value considering they were all new sculpts and a limited edition product.
The first figure released was Mario Zagallo in Brazil 1958 kit, with fellow Brazilian Garrincha in Brazil 1962 kit following him, as Augusts release. September 2004 saw England legend Geoff Hurst released in 1966 home and away kit, with Ocotober seeing another Brazilian player released, this time it was Carlos Alberto in Brazil 1970 kits.
November 2004 saw the first goal keeper to be released as a ProStars Elite, with West German Sepp Maier in 1974 kit. Daniel Passarella in Argentina 1978 was December's release, with the great Italian goal keeper Dino Zoff was released in Italy 1982 kit as the first release of 2005, followed up in February by the legendary Diego Maradona, in Argentina 1986 kits. The Maradona is up there as one of if not the most sought after in the entire Elite series.
Jurgen Klinsmann in the 1990 Germany kit was the March release, with April seeing prolific Brazil forward Romario in 1994 kit released and I must say the Romario sculpt is absolutely superb. The May release was Zinedine Zidane, who was painted in France 1998 kit, the kit he won the World Cup in, i would say he is the second most sought after and valuable figure, not surprising given the popularity of the player and the sheer excellence of the sculpt.
June saw Ronaldo in the Brazil 2002 kit released, which of course was the kit he won the World Cup in. I would place Ronaldo as perhaps 3rd in terms of rarity in the set, but that is always up for debate. Following Ronaldo was the iconic Italian defender Paolo Maldini, in the 1994 Italy kit.
August saw Michel Platini in the 1984 France kit added to the series, and the September release was Franz Beckenbauer in 1974 West Germany kit. Mercurial Dutchman Johan Cruyff was October's release, with the Cruyff turn inventor being in 1974 Holland kit. Davor Suker was the November release, in 1998 Croatia kit, not the most popular in this range but that is hardly surprising given the high calibre of players in the series.
The last release of 2005 was that of Peter Schmeichel in Denmark 1992 kit, with the home kit figure being just an incredible paint job, in my opinion one of the finest painted kits Corinthian ever did. The first release of 2006 was Hristo Stoichkov in 1994 Bulgaria kit, a wonderful sculpt of a true national treasure. George Best in 1971 Northern Ireland kit was the February release, a top class sculpt featuring Best with his shabby beard which he was famous for during that period in his career.
We stayed in the United Kingdom for the March release, as Welshman John Charles in 1958 kit was added to the series, followed up in April by Scotsman Kenny Dalglish in 1974 Scotland kit. The release for May was Ferenc Puskas in 1954 Hungary kit, another very popular release. The final Corinthian ProStars Elite figure was released in June 2006, as Roy Keane in 1994 Ireland kit selected to draw the ProStars Elite range to a close.
The Corinthian ProStars Elite series is a superb collection of figures and a real 'who is who' of World football. The format was fantastic and well conceived, not to mention fantastically executed, releasing one a month allowed collectors to spread the cost of the collection over a regular and structured time frame. Given the limited production runs and top level of players used it is no surprise to know the Elite range remains one of the most collected and in demand series within the ProStars range.
I am not alone in thinking it would have been great to see Corinthian use this packaging format for a ProStars Club Elite series, players in iconic kits for their clubs, endless possibilities and a product i am confident would have been as popular, if not more so than this range.
PRO1024 - Mario Zagallo - Brazil - Home 1958
PRO1025 - Mario Zagallo - Brazil - Away 1958
PRO1026 - Garrincha - Brazil - Home 1962
PRO1027 - Garrincha - Brazil - Away 1962
PRO1028 - Geoff Hurst - England - Home 1966
PRO1029 - Geoff Hurst - England - Away 1966
PRO1030 - Carlos Alberto - Brazil - Home 1970
PRO1031 - Carlos Alberto - Brazil - Away 1970
PRO1074 - Sepp Maier - West Germany - Home 1974
PRO1075 - Sepp Maier - West Germany - Away 1974
PRO1076 - Daniel Passarella - Argentina - Home 1978
PRO1077 - Daniel Passarella - Argentina - Away 1978
PRO1078 - Dino Zoff - Italy - Home 1982
PRO1079 - Dino Zoff - Italy - Away 1982
PRO1080 - Diego Maradona - Argentina - Home 1986
PRO1081 - Diego Maradona - Argentina - Away 1986
PRO1122 - Jurgen Klinsmann - Germany - Home 1990
PRO1123 - Jurgen Klinsmann - Germany - Away 1990
PRO1124 - Romario - Brazil - Home 1994
PRO1125 - Romario - Brazil - Away 1994
PRO1126 - Zinedine Zidane - France - Home 1998
PRO1127 - Zinedine Zidane - France - Away 1998
PRO1128 - Ronaldo - Brazil - Home 2002
PRO1129 - Ronaldo - Brazil - Away 2002
PRO1199 - Paolo Maldini - Italy - Home 1994
PRO1200 - Paolo Maldini - Italy - Away 1994
PRO1201 - Michel Platini - France - Home 1984
PRO1202 - Michel Platini - France - Away 1984
PRO1203 - Franz Beckenbauer - West Germany - Home 1974
PRO1204 - Franz Beckenbauer - West Germany - Away 1974
PRO1205 - Yohan Cruyff - Holland - Home 1974
PRO1206 - Yohan Cruyff - Holland - Away 1974
PRO1207 - Davor Suker - Croatia - Home 1998
PRO1208 - Davor Suker - Croatia - Away 1998
PRO1209 - Peter Schmeichel - Denmark - Home 1992
PRO1210 - Peter Schmeichel - Denmark - Away 1992
PRO1211 - Hristo Stoichkov - Bulgaria - Home 1994
PRO1212 - Hristo Stoichkov - Bulgaria - Away 1994
PRO1213 - George Best - Northern Ireland - Home 1971
PRO1214 - George Best - Northern Ireland - Away 1971
PRO1215 - Roy Keane - Ireland - Home 1994
PRO1216 - Roy Keane - Ireland - Away 1994
PRO1217 - Kenny Dalglish - Scotland - Home 1974
PRO1218 - Kenny Dalglish - Scotland - Away 1974
PRO1219 - Ferenc Puskas - Hungary - Home 1954
PRO1220 - Ferenc Puskas - Hungary - Away 1954
PRO1221 - John Charles - Wales - Home 1958
PRO1222 - John Charles - Wales - Away 1958