Collecting dollhouses and other miniature items is a very serious hobby. A dollhouse or miniature building or miniature piece of furniture can be a work of art. The hobby is also genderless many collectors and builders of both dollhouses and other miniature items are men. Historically dollhouses were first made as prestigious works that would be displayed in the front room or parlor of the house as a sign of wealth. Then dollhouses were used to instruct girls in the ways of running a household. It is really only in relatively modern time that dollhouses also became children’s toys.
International in appeal
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world you will find miniature dollhouses and miniatures of other buildings and boats. From Europe to China to Australia there are dollhouse collectors, dollhouse clubs, and dollhouse and miniature artisans. Germany in particular is known for their fascination with dollhouses. Many of the fine dollhouses and dollhouse furniture come from Germany. The Gottschalk dollhouses built in the 1800’s are sought after by collectors.
If you look on eBay you will find antique and handcrafted dollhouses that are selling for thousands of dollars – some as much as the cost of a new car. Individual items of dollhouse furniture that has been handcrafted down to the last detail of an original item also sell for thousands. You can find sterling silver cutlery, antique Austrian miniature clocks, hand painted wall screens, hand carved staircases and everything else in between. Miniatures are also displayed in easier to deal with shadow boxes and wall displays. Antique and unusual dollhouses and accessories are part of most large museums in the world and there are many museums dedicated just to miniatures. Miniatures and dollhouses are available in a variety of different scales. The 1:12 is the most commonly found and collected size but you can find much larger dollhouses and accessories and much smaller sizes. From royalty to the well heeled to the average person the world of miniatures has always held fascination.
To get started
To enter into the world of dollhouse collectibles you should decide whether you want to collect only antique dollhouses or you want to create your own family heirlooms either from kits or handcrafting the house yourself. There are hundreds of excellent reference books on building dollhouses and collecting miniatures. You may decide to focus on a particular period of dollhouses or a special style. Victorian dollhouses are the most popular style in miniatures probably due to their level of detail. You can also find dollhouses that depict modern classic 1950’s homes and futuristic homes. Perhaps you find shadow boxes or wall displays an easier collectible in terms of space. No matter what style of dollhouse interests you there is a lot of information out there to get you started. Almost every town in the world has a club of some kind dedicated to miniatures or dollhouses. In the United States you can start by contacting the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts or the Cottage Industry Miniaturists Trade Association for information.