A grand four-bedroom house decked out with crystal chandeliers, a clawfoot tub and fireplaces galore hitting the market fully furnished for only $149,000 sounds like a bargain. However, caveat emptor — it’s only 18 square feet!
These days the elaborate dollhouse biz is in full swing. Those in the market need only to check eBay, suss out auctions, peruse ads in “Miniature Magazine” or visit certain collectible shows to get their hands on a tiny piece of real estate. But while the “property” may be minuscule, these “homes” can command prices similar to a full-size property.
One dealer who currently has four dollhouses on the market, ranging in style from a classic Tudor to one described as the “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” (just imagine what Barbie is wearing while lounging in that one!) says they are priced between $28,000 and $350,000! Likewise, an auction house reportedly sold a “Mexican Mansion” for $217,500 in 2004.
Sadly, while still robust, it would appear the world of tiny mansions is experiencing a bit of a real estate downtown. “It’s questionable whether dollhouses would bring this sort of money again today, but you never know,” Noel Barrett of an auction house in Cartersville, PA and who is also an expert appraiser on “Antique Roadshow”, explains.
As with full-size homes, buyers are finicky and specific. “It’s like selling a whole real house with all the furniture still in it, and the pets, and food for the people to eat,” explains Charlotte Stokoe, chairwoman of London’s Kensington Dollshouse Festival,
Still, these homes are certainly not child’s play. While young ones may be aching to have their grubby Barbies lay about in these grand domiciles, most structures are actually collected by and for adults. Given the exorbitant prices it is no surprise some famous folks are fans of these luxe smaller scale properties. For example, Ahmed Al-Thani, a member of the royal family of Qatar is one of the world’s leading collectors. Likewise, famed sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, owns eight dollhouses, some even featuring miniature versions of her self-help sex books! [WSJ]