What You Need to Know about 'The Simpsons' Animation Cels

Starting Your Collection

Joe Mantegna and an animation cel of his character, Fat Tony, at Wonderful World Art Gallery
CULVER CITY, CA - JULY 19: Actor Joe Mantegna poses with an animation cel of 'Simpsons' character 'Big Tony' (which Mantegna provides the voice for) at the 'Get Inked With Homer' benefit at the Wonderful World Art Gallery on July 19, 2007 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images). Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Fans of The Simpsons may have a collection of Burger King toys, action figures, magnets or other merchandise sitting on shelves at home or at the office. However, there are serious collectors who are willing to spend a whole lot of "D'oh!" for animation cels or cartoon art. Read more if you would like to add to your collection of The Simpsons.

What is an animation cel?

A cel is a piece of celluloid that an artist hand-paints to create a scene.

Each cel then moves the characters just slightly, so that when they are all "flipped" together, they appear to move in a scene. Literally thousands of cels are required for an entire episode of The Simpsons.

See also: Animation Techniques Explained

Where can I buy animation cels for The Simpsons?

On May 16th, 1999, Twentieth Century Fox put The Simpsons art on sale. Since then a new kind of Simpsons collector has emerged, turning away from cheap toys and building a collection of high-priced art.

If you want to start your own collection, you don't need to travel the globe looking for animation cels. There are plenty of online stores where you can buy animation cels of The Simpsons. Here are a few.

Comic Mint - located in Australia. The website explains that Comic Mint has hosted many art exhibitions that included talented stars from The Simpsons, like Nancy Cartwright (Bart Simpson), Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson), Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders) and even The Simpsons creator, Matt Groening.

See also: Profile of The Simpsons Creator Matt Groening

The Wonderful World of Animation - located in Culver City, California. Not only does the Wonderful World of Animation sell cels (say that five times fast), they also buy cartoon art. Their FAQ has great tips and information on starting your own animation cel collection.

Animation Connection - located in Toronto, Canada. Animation Connection offers international shipping, framing and other custom services. They also offer a layaway service, which would be a frugal, smart way to building your collection of animation cels.

Belgravia Gallery - located in London, England. Some of the animation cels that the Belgravia Gallery have sold were autographed by Matt Groening or one of the cast members. At one time, Nancy Cartwright visited the Belgravia Gallery to promote an art sale.

How much do The Simpsons cels cost?

Prices can range from $9.99 for a poster of Springfield characters, to $2,500.00 for a "Treehouse of Horror" cel. Original production Simpsons cels usually start at $400, depending on the scene that is depicted. Some of the most expensive, and rare, cels are from the The Tracey Ullman Show, when the Simpson family only appeared in animated shorts, or of the opening couch gags.

Be sure to read Before You Buy Animation Art Cels for more information on setting your budget, avoiding fakes and more.

Collecting The Simpsons

William LaRue, author of , has over 3,000 pieces of merchandise in his collection of The Simpsons. He recommends buying animation cels from reputable galleries and dealers, and making sure that you ask for a certificate of authenticity, to guarantee that your piece of The Simpsons art is genuine.

See also: William LaRue chats about his collection, what's valuable and where to find the good stuff.

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