YOU DON’T WIN FRIENDS WITH SALAD, BUT YOU COULD WIN MORE THAN 250 PIECES OF ‘SIMPSONS’ ART AND COLLECTIBLES IN THE LARGEST AUCTION EVER DEDICATED TO THE DYSFUNCTIONAL BUNCH FROM SPRINGFIELD
By Bill King
Starting as minute-long shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987, The Simpsons is now the longest-running American animated series, the longest-running American sitcom and the longest-running American scripted prime-time series in TV history. Conceived by cartoonist Matt Groening, The Simpsons recently marked its 34th anniversary and shows little sign of stopping. The combination of brilliant writing, an ever-growing roster of lovable secondary characters and numerous celebrity cameos helped make it a global phenomenon, and the show’s incredible popularity propelled it far beyond television. In addition to spawning video games, comic books and a critically acclaimed full-length feature film, the series has inspired a cavalcade of Simpsons-themed products and collectibles.
On February 17, Heritage will offer some of the rarest and most sought-after Simpsons art and collectibles ever assembled in its Collecting the Simpsons Animation Art Showcase Auction.The first of its kind, the online auction includes original animation art from some of The Simpsons’ funniest episodes, including early appearances on The Tracey Ullman Show, “Treehouse of Horror” production cels and couch gag drawings by seven-time guest director Bill Plympton. Along with the animation art is a treasure trove of toys, games, clothing, comics, magazines, promotional items and other long sold-out and/or discontinued licensed products, memorabilia and collectibles.
With more than 250 lots in the sale – the most Simpsons items ever offered in a single auction – picking favorites was an arduous task, but we managed to compile a few highlights. See below for just a sampling of the items worthy of having a cow, man.
“Burns’ Heir” Mr. Burns and Smithers Production Cel
The Simpsons is known for its cast of wacky and wonderful secondary characters, and an array of Springfield’s most beloved citizens are represented in the auction. Such hard-to-find notables include Kang and Kodos, Groundskeeper Willie, Carl and Lenny, Sideshow Bob, and Mr. Burns and Smithers. Here, the ever-faithful Smithers displays his unwavering loyalty to Mr. Burns, Springfield’s oldest billionaire, even while being subject to his wrath in this hilarious scene from Season 5, Episode 18.
“Homer’s Face” Couch Gag Drawings by Bill Plympton
This trio of original sketches by the acclaimed animator Bill Plympton, created for a Simpsons couch gag, offers a unique glimpse into the creative process behind one of television’s most iconic scenes. These drawings stem from Episode 13 of Season 29, where Plympton, renowned for his 1987 Academy Award-nominated animated short “Your Face,” revisited the concept for a Simpsons couch gag featuring Homer. Each piece in the sequence, instrumental in the filming of the opening sketch, showcases Plympton’s distinctive style.
Life-Size Dancing/Rapping Homer Simpson and Smokey Joe Grill
This animatronic Homer is certain to be the life of the party, as well as the centerpiece of any Simpsons collection. The 4.5-foot figure, which comes with a microphone for the ultimate Homer sing-along, really gets into the groove when belting out a special Homer-esque version of “Rapper’s Delight.” Also included is a Simpsons Smokey Joe Weber grill. These limited-edition grills were first offered at the Simpsons Global Fanfest in 2000 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the hit series.
Adidas Stan Smith x Homer Simpson Men’s Sneakers
Based on the popular meme showing Homer slowly backing into a bush, these Stan Smith trainers are the latest in a series of limited-run Simpsons-themed shoes from Adidas. In addition to the heel’s embroidered Homer backing into a bushy green shag, the tongue is embossed with Homer’s portrait, and the sides of the shoes are embossed with “Homer Simpson” in gold.
Bart Simpson Production Cel From The Tracey Ullman Show
From the early days of The Simpsons comes this charming production cel from a Tracey Ullman short titled “House of Cards.” Here, Bart, with his trademark spiky hair on full display, is seen stacking playing cards, creating a delicate tower in the process. The cel embodies the essence of Bart’s character and rebellious spirit, which has led to countless comic situations.
Group of 88 “World of Springfield” Intelli-Tronic Voice Activation Figures
This exceptional collection of unopened figures released between 1999 and 2004 represents an impressive array of beloved Simpsons characters and is a remarkable representation of the animated series’ universe. The assortment showcases multiple versions of Bart, including “Kamp Krusty Bart,” “Bartman,” “Brain Freeze Bart,” and “Daredevil Bart,” along with Homer, Marge, Lisa and Maggie. The collection also features a slew of other Springfield residents, including Agnes Skinner, Gil, the Rodney Dangerfield-voiced Larry Burns, Mrs. Botz, Joe Mantegna’s Fat Tony, Louie, Otto, Superintendent Chalmers, Barney, Moe and many more.
“Treehouse of Horror” 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Skateboard Deck
Created in 2014 to mark the silver anniversary of The Simpsons’ beloved “Treehouse of Horror” series, this ultra-rare skateboard deck was exclusively distributed to cast and crew members at the premiere party for “Treehouse of Horror XXIV.” “Treehouse of Horror” is a fan-favorite tradition, and this skateboard deck – one of only 100 ever made – pays homage to the series’ most memorable moments with a collage spanning 25 seasons and capturing the essence of the show’s signature blend of horror, humor and pop culture references.
“Treehouse of Horror VII” Bob Dole, Homer Simpson and Bill Clinton Production Cel
“America, take a look at your beloved candidates. They’re nothing but hideous space reptiles!” Homer reveals Bob Dole and Bill Clinton to be Kang and Kodos in disguise in this scene from the first episode of Season 13. “Treehouse of Horror” art is highly sought-after, and a piece that features two presidential candidates is something for the history books.
“The Homer” Model Car
“The Homer,” Homer Simpson’s dream car, was conceptualized in the show when Homer landed a job at Powell Motors. Ignoring conventional automotive design, he infused the car with eccentric features to appeal to the “average” American. This unopened model accurately replicates these quirks, including two bubble domes, with the rear dome designed for quarreling kids, complete with optional restraints and muzzles.
BILL KING is Director of Animation Art and Anime at Heritage Auctions. He can be reached at 214.409.1602 or BKing@HA.com.