Simpsons Co-Creator's Memorabilia Is Going to Auction
Going, going, doh!
Auction house Sotheby's is planning to sell memorabilia and fine art from the collection of the late Sam Simon, one of the most influential creative forces in modern television. Simon, who died from colon cancer in March, was best known as co-creator of the Fox animated comedy, "The Simpsons," the longest-running sitcom in American television.
The wide-ranging collection of vintage pop-culture memorabilia includes a signed poster promoting the 1974 Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fight. That work carries a pre-sale estimate of $1,500 to $2,000. Sotheby's estimates the total sale will bring in upward of $10 million dollars.
A Simpsons-themed pinball machine could sell for as much as $2,000. Originally released in 1990, the machine features the original voices of the show's main characters, including Bart Simpson's reciting his infamous line, "Don't have a cow, man."
Given the eclectic, genre-spanning nature of the collection and rather accessible prices, Andrea Fiuczynski, chair of Sotheby's West Coast, told CNBC she anticipates the auction will lure novice bidders, both individual and young corporate buyers..
"I can see a small startup buying some of the pieces for their offices. For instance, the hula dancer lamp or the pinball machine fits perfectly into the modern, fun aesthetic so popular in Silicon Valley or Silicon Alley," said Fiuczynski
Simon won nine prime-time Emmy Awards for his work on "The Simpsons" and, even after his death, is still listed as executive producer for every episode. He also earned a percentage of all licensing and merchandising from the show, worth upwards of "hundreds of millions of dollars over the years," according to Vanity Fair.
He also worked for many years as a writer, producer and showrunner on countless TV sitcoms, including as a writer and producer on "Cheers," and showrunner on "Taxi."
The wealth earned from his television ventures helped finance his extensive collection of curios that will be offered up by Sotheby's. The centerpiece of the sale is a painting by American muralist Thomas Hart Benton, entitled T.P. and Jake, depicting a young boy and his pet dog. The work is expected to raise $2.5 million.
"Each piece in Sam Simon's collection embodies a central theme: The ability of art to tell a story," said Fiuczynski.
The 260 lots will be spread across a series of auctions, expected to begin on Sept. 19 and ending in mid-2016. Proceeds from the sale of his collection will benefit the Sam Simon Charitable Giving Foundation, which supports animal welfare, disaster relief and poverty alleviation cause