Want to own a ‘Forbidden’ sci-fi icon? Robby the Robot is going up for auction

robby the robot auction
JeromeG111/Flickr
Having appeared in Forbidden Planet, The Twilight ZoneLost in Space, and numerous other science-fiction shows, Robby the Robot is one of the most iconic pieces of sci-fi memorabilia in TV history. And now it is going up for sale.

Robby the Robot will be one of the centerpieces of the upcoming “Out of this World” auction hosted by Bonhams. The seven-foot tall robot is operational and is expected to sell for somewhere in range of seven figures when it goes to auction on November 21.

Adding to its potential value is the fact that Robby the Robot was, at the time of its construction, one of the most expensive sci-fi props ever built. Made mostly of plastic and featuring working electronics which could be controlled remotely or via the person inside the suit, the prop cost Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer around $100,000.

As the New York Times points out, Robby the Robot was the only member of the Forbidden Planet cast to receive sole billing in the movie’s opening credits and has made appearances in numerous TV shows since his film debut. Even if you haven’t seen any of the works the prop has appeared in, you will likely recognize Robby’s iconic design.

As iconic as Robby is, it wasn’t always a pleasure to work with. Earl Holliman, one of the last surviving members of the Forbidden Planet’s cast, described playing alongside Robby as “kind of awkward.” This was mainly due to the fact that Robby’s lines had to be delivered by the script supervisor.

Bill Malone, the prop’s current owner, said he bought Robby in 1979 and has kept the robot in his home ever since. After joking about having coffee with Robby every morning, Malone said that he wanted to ensure that the iconic prop was taken care of.

“I’m of an age where I’m still healthy and doing good,” Malone told the Times. “But I think it’s time to think about his future. We’re sending Robby to college.”

Robby is far from the only classic piece of sci-fi history that has been auctioned off. Recently, we reported on the sale of Xenomorph eggs and the sword of Conan, which would make for the greatest cosplay ever.

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