I have made some blog posts before about Cabinet dollhouses, Victorian dollhouses or Tudorstyle dollhouses, and so on, but today I am going to write about the most extraordinary/expensive or peculiar vintage dollhouses in the world, all on one page.
You might have seen a few of them already on my site, but obviously, for some of them, that can not be avoided sorry! I must say, during my research, I was saying ‘WOW’ a few times and I am sure that you will too, so let’s dive straight into things!
Dollhouse number 1: The Faith Bradford dollhouse.
Now, this one I didn’t know about, but it was recommended by Eleni, a fan of my website, on my Facebook group. (thanks again Eleni!).
Faith Bradford (1880-1970), was a retired librarian and of course passionate about dollhouses. From childhood on, she always collected or received miniature furniture and mini household items.
This dollhouse had 23 rooms (5 stories tall) and it was filled with 1354 items, mostly early 20th-century vintage, and it was built on a scale of one inch to one foot. I haven’t found the estimated price of this dollhouse, unfortunately.
The dolls in the house represented Mr. and Mrs. Peter Doll, their 10 children, 2 grandparents, 5 servants, and 20 pets.
The dollhouse of Faith Bradford was donated to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, which is closed for the time being. In normal times, this is still visited by plenty of people, young and a little bit less young 😉
You can take a virtual tour of all the floors by following this link. She even had a scrapbook where she described the evolution of her house and working methods!
Dollhouse number 2: Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle.
Colleen Moore ( born as Kathleen Morrison, 1900-1988) was a ‘superstar’ of the silent-film era. She became a successful investor after her Hollywood career, earning $12.500 per week, which was a fortune at that time. This way she could pursue her childhood dream and passion: dollhouses.
She had designed a very charming ‘Fairy Castle’ dollhouse, which is 9 feet square and stands 14 feet tall, and has 11 rooms. Spending half a million dollars (yes, that’s $500.000) from 1928 to 1935, she employed about 100 different craftsmen to build it.
There were actually never any dolls or fairies in the house because she would ‘see them’ :-). The reason why the floating staircase and the hall didn’t have banisters also, was because fairies have wings obviously, ha!
The castle is filled with anything rich, stylish, and fancy you can imagine (have a look at the video below and be amazed!).
It has tiny paintings, dainty chandeliers made of diamonds and emeralds, Cinderella’s glass slippers, and so much more. The fairy castle even has a miniature book that is signed by 6 presidents and other books have been handwritten by famous authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald!
A ‘magic’ garden is also there, with a working fountain and a weeping willow tree that cries ‘real’ tears. Also, running water is in it and real glowing lights.
Conservators have spent 4 months restoring the dollhouse and that costed around $200.000!
It was donated to the Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry in 1949, where you can still visit it. There have been books written about this dollhouse as well.
Dollhouse number 3 is from The Netherlands: the house of Rembrandt.
Simone Karsbergen has built a dollhouse that looks exactly like the real house from the painter called Rembrandt, who was one of the most famous painters in Europe during the 17th century.
This house was made on a scale of 1:12 and it took Simone three years to build. It is estimated to cost 20.000€ to 30.000 €. Everything is painted and made by hand.
In the video below she explains how the floor was made. The floor-tiles were made from clay, all separate pieces glued to the surface. Then painted so that they have a green, antique-looking glaze. After that, they were joined and finished with varnish.
So this one is for sure not the most expensive one on my list or doesn’t look like one of the other vintage dollhouses, but I wanted to mention it, cause I found it interesting and it is made by my neighbors, the Dutch! 🙂
The video below is not in English sorry..
Dollhouse number 4: Astolat dollhouse castle.
Well, this one just hàd to be mentioned, as it is one of the most extravagant and expensive vintage dollhouses in the world: Astolat dollhouse Castle, which is estimated at $8,5 million in 2015. Which is about $2,000 per square inch!!
It is created by master miniaturist Elaine Diehl, together with other very skilled artists from all over the world, between 1974 and 1987.
The name of the castle was inspired by ‘Elaine of Astolat’, a fictional figure who died of unresponded love for Sir Lancelot in the legend of Arthur.
The dollhouse weighs more than 800 pounds, stands more than nine feet tall, and has 30 rooms (5 bedrooms) on 7 levels. Also, it was created for 360° viewing. As in a lot of expensive vintage dollhouses, there are no dolls in it, with the one exception of a Merlin wizard.
Inside, it has over 30.000 items (all antique) including real parquet flooring, marble, gilt trim galore, incredible paintings, and miniature books that can be read with a magnifying glass! Plus it seems that there is real liquor in each bottle in the bar!
It is privately owned, but of course, has museum quality and gets exhibited.
Dollhouse number 5: Queen Mary’s dollhouse.
This one you probably know well and I have mentioned It before, but it sure is one of the most extravagant and vintage dollhouses in the world: the dollhouse of Queen Mary. This time I will go a little bit further into detail.
The dollhouse of Queen Mary was called the worlds largest, most beautiful, and most famous by the Royal Trust Collection, and you know what, they could be right!
Although I can’t seem to find the estimated price for this dollhouse (can you?), I believe it could probably beat most of the list on my page, as I found out that just 1 diner-set is estimated at $45.000 at auction. So, it looks priceless to me!
Build in the 1920s for Queen Mary and designed by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, it never was intended to be played with and it is more luxurious than many life-sized homes. Also, the house is a perfect scale replica of an Edwardian home (this is the period in time right after the Victorian one).
This dollhouse was surely fit for a Queen, as it had running water, electricity, and two working elevators. And its library has original works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Hardy, and Edith Wharton. It took over 1500 craftsmen and several years to complete.
The little wine cellar is filled with tiny bottles containing thimblefuls of real vintage wine. And the residents possess pink Rolls Royce limousines in the miniature garage.
A hidden garden is revealed when a drawer is pulled out from beneath the main building, which is designed by Gertrude Jekyll.
Queen Mary’s dollhouse is on display at Windsor Castle at Windsor, England, and is visited by thousands of visitors each year.
Dollhouse number 6: Stettheimer’s Dollhouse.
This dollhouse was crafted by Carrie Walter Stettheimer, which took her 25 years to build, from 1916 to 1935. The price is estimated at $1.000.000 and it has 12 rooms and it is 2 floors high.
Carrie Stettheimer brought together the fashion and style of New York’s high society from the early 20th century. The wallpapers, furniture, and fixtures are all characteristic of the period following World War I.
Many modern artists, like Marchel Duchamp, George Bellows, Gaston Lachaise, made miniatures of their own art for this dollhouse with a large gallery included. So they actually made tiny copies of their paintings and sculptures, which makes this dollhouse pretty unique for the time period I would think. Andy Warhol by the way loved this dollhouse!
You should absolutely take a look at the video below, where the curators discuss the dollhouse and how it all developed, it sure was interesting to me! (it starts after a few minutes).
It is exhibited in the museum of the City of New York.
Dollhouse number 7: Titania’s Palace.
This miniature castle was built in Ireland from 1907 till 1922. It was commissioned and designed by Sir Neville Wilkinson, an English painter, and officer, who had it made for his daughter.
The estimated price is $256.500 and it has 18 rooms, is 4’1″ tall, and has over 3000 miniature items from all over the world.
It is now on display in Denmark, it was bought by Legoland in 1978 and you can now visit it at Egeskov Castle. (looks pretty by the way itself that castle).
Dollhouse number 8: English Gothic House.
This ‘English Gothic House’ is estimated to be worth about $82.000 and was crafted by Peter Riches from Sussex from 1994 and took 15 years to complete (and 8 hours per day!).
The house has 10 rooms, including a bathroom, bedroom, dining room, hallway, living room and we surely most not forget the library, which contains 1000 separately bound books with pages of newspapers.
It measures 1,2m wide, 82 cm’s deep, and stands 1 meter high.
Peter Riches sold the house to a private collector of vintage dollhouses and with that money he wants to travel to well-known waterfalls around the world, can’t blame him for that! 🙂
Dollhouse number 9: Japanese Dollhouse.
Huguette Clark was an American multi-millionaire and painter artist. She was a big fan of arts and porcelain dolls and she had the financial possibilities for it. Japanese art and dollhouses were amongst her favorites as well.
She had a number of Japanese vintage dollhouses so it seems, but the most expensive one is estimated at $80.000.
For more into depth information, I would like to refer you to the video below!
Dollhouse number 10: The 16th Century Dollhouse.
Now this one is made for kings and queens a 16th Century Dollhouse, made by Kevin Mulvany and Susie Rogers, husband and wife.
They were well-informed historians who had 25 years of experience in creating historically correct and detailed European castles and mansions that look exactly like the original ones, while living in Holt, Wiltshire.
Their latest dollhouse, however, one that was commissioned by a private collector from California, was estimated at $70.000 in 2009 and took about 10.000 hours to make.
Fixtures and furniture are made of real crystal, gold, luxury wood, sterling silver, and mini oil paintings painted by real artists.
The house has been influenced by the Palace of Versailles, the Chateau de Bagatelle, and the Palace of Fontainebleau and inspired by the period of Marie Antoinette, the female monarch who was executed during the French revolution.
There are crystal chandeliers that have a value of 1000 Pounds, porcelain dinnerware, and even an antique statue of the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova: ‘Three Grace’.
In this video below, another dollhouse of Mulvany and Rogers is represented but I’m afraid to show you guys any pictures of the house I just talked about, regarding copyrights. But they do have a website, which looks great! Also, have a look at the house through an article in the Dailymail!
Dollhouse number 11,12 and 13: all cabinet dollhouses.
These three I already described in a previous article about cabinet dollhouses: Petronella Oortman’s Dollhouse at $18.000, Sara Rothe Dollhouse at $12.000, and Petronella de la Court Dollhouse which would be worth about $11.000 now. In this article, you can read a lot more about these three and I am not going to copy-paste that here sorry ;-).
Were you as amazed as me to see some of these extravagant or expensive vintage dollhouses? I am pretty sure you were!
Do you have a dollhouse that I should add to this article or do you have a question on any other topic? Then please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below or join my newest Facebook group and as always,
I wish you happy crafting!