The Simpsons collectibles have been with us for as long as the show has been on the air... more than twenty five years. This hilariously funny, middle-American family parodies the daily lives of millions, celebrates our culture, pokes at our weaknesses, and lets us laugh at ourselves. Since the fictitious family first appeared on The Tracy Ullman Show in 1987, it has attracted legions of devoted viewers.
For many collectors, the most appealing memorabilia of the show are the Simpsons dolls —over the years, all of the main characters have been reproduced in one way or another. Bart, Homer, Marge, Lisa, Maggie, Krusty the Clown and others have all been immortalized as Simpsons collectibles. Because they are cartoon characters, it is relatively easy to produce a very good likeness, and modern technology allows manufacturers to add special features, such as voice, to make them seem even more "real".
The early dolls were plastic and cloth: plush versions didn’t come on the scene until 1993 when Applause signed a deal with Fox. Talking Simpsons collectibles appeared somewhat earlier, with pull string dolls being produced by 1990, followed much later by interactive Bart and Homer dolls, by Playmates Toys, featuring infrared technology — the ultimate in talking Simpsons dolls (2000). These designs and other talking collectibles reflect the fact that without its dialogue, the show would be nothing.
Many people started their set of Simpsons collectables with the Burger King dolls, and we still can: these still trade for less than $10. These were mass produced and bought by many people, which explains why their value is low; however, the same fact explains why all collectors should have them — thus, there is a ready market for this series.
Other early Simpsons dolls are worth much more. For example, the 1990 talking Bart doll from Dan Dee, in excellent condition, is worth about $60, and some of the other early designs are worth even more to the right buyer.
Of course, Simpsons dolls are not the only memorabilia out there for collectors; they are just the most popular and therefore the most valuable. Other products include a bizarre range of items in keeping with the nature of the show: you can find playing cards in a Duff beer can; talking pens, key chains, pizza cutters, clocks, bottle openers, and foam can coolers; light switch plates; lunch boxes; and even lava lamps. For the enthusiast, there are endless Simpsons collectables.
Browsing on the internet is an easy way for prospective buyers to get an idea of what is available. There are websites maintained by collectors and people knowledgeable about the products. There are internet retailers who sell new Simpsons collectables, and sites like eBay where you can tap into the secondary market, and there is a large amount of information about the show’s history and evolution.
Most of the information is free and the products range from buttons for $1 to rare Simpsons dolls for almost $100. Most items are quite inexpensive: serious collectors can fill every nook and cranny in their homes with Simpsons memorabilia. You know what Bart would say to that: “Ay Carumba!”