'Simpsons' Figurine Among Items Sold at Auction by the Estate of Professor Stephen Hawking
By Darla Murray
MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images
Professor Stephen Hawking’s Simpsons figurine sold for more than triple its expected sale price at Christie’s Auction House.
The late theoretical physicist’s figurine was expected to sell for between $630 and $1,008, but ultimately went for $3,469.59. The action figure features the tricked-out wheelchair that was seen on the animated series, complete with propeller and a computer screen that reads, "IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR TROUBLE, YOU FOUND IT." Missing, sadly, are a number of small removable parts, including Hawking’s glasses, a beer mug, and the mechanical boxing glove, which he used to punch Homer Simpson after he tried to stick him with a bar tab.
The collectible toy is part of the World of Springfield series that was released by Playmate Toys between 1999 and 2004. There are over 200 action figures in the series and the original cost for most of them is under $8 each. The figurine itself was one of 58 items the Hawking's estate sold at auction. Other items included an original Edison light bulb along with Thomas Edison's hand-sketched notes, as well as a Second World War Enigma Machine (which was the lot's highest seller at over $400,000).
The world-renowned scientist first appeared onThe Simpsons in May 1999 on the season 10 episode "They Saved Lisa's Brain," and went on to appear on the show multiple times until his death in 2018. After his death, the episode "Homer Is Where the Art Isn't" was dedicated to him.
Hawking is often cited as one of the best guest stars of all time on the Fox show and had joked that as many people knew him through The Simpsons as they did for his science. During a radio interview, Hawking even said that he considered The Simpsons to be the best show on American television, which is high praise from one of the world’s most intelligent people.
The admiration was mutual. Executive producer Matt Selman paid respect to Hawking by calling him the most intelligent guest star in a tweet. Simpsons EP and writer Al Jean also told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, "He popularized science for people who may not have been interested in it. And that is something we have tried to do on The Simpsons: Put science and math inside the show. He was certainly a hero to all of us."
This isn't the first time Simpsons-related memorabilia performed well at an auction. In 2019, a KAWS painting of The Simpsons (which Justin Bieber is a fan of), that was valued at $1 million sold for a whooping $14.7 million.