Seven floors, 29 rooms, a chapel, an observatory, a wine cellar, a weapons room, a ballroom and a dovecote.
No wonder why this extravagant home has an appraised value of more than $288,000 per square foot. Except that this small cozy nest is not a traditional abode but a 9 feet tall (2.7 meters) miniature called the Astolat Dollhouse Castle.
With an estimated price tag of $ 8.5 million (€ 7.9 million), the Astolat Dollhouse Castle is the world’s most expensive dollhouse. This little marvel decorated with more than 10,000 teeny-tiny items (in addition to the collection of 30,000 items that rotate through the house on an ongoing basis), was built between 1974 and 1980 by artist Elaine Diehl.
She fully furnished the dollhouse with paintings, mirrors, wooden floors, marble bathrooms, gold chandelier and hundreds of other tiny details like hand-stitched tapestries, vases in real lapis lazuli, and replicas of 18th-century oil paintings.
The first dollhouses date back to the 17th century, when they were seen not as child’s toys but displays of fine craftsmanship. They were generally acquired by wealthy families in France, Germany, Holland, and England.
And if you think tiny rhymes with affordable, think again: One of the Astolat Dollhouse Castle’s silver flatware set, is worth $5,000. A drop-leaf secretary bookshelf has been valued at up to $2,500, and a miniature Hebrew Torah was worth up to $2,500 at the time of purchase. Talk about luxurious finishes…
The Astolat Dollhouse Castle was sold in 1996 to a couple from Long Island: Michael and Lois Freeman. The Freeman, whose grandson is autistic, will be exhibiting their dollhouse for the first time ever since being built in the 1980s, at the Shops at Columbus Circle (Manhattan’s Time Warner Center), Thursday through Dec. 8 2015.
Their goal is to raise funds for various children’s charities, and to supports research and treatment of autism. The price of tickets will be given to the association Autism Speaks | Autism Treatment Network (ATN). More info: www.astolatdollhousecastle.com
Photographer: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg
Fun Facts about the Astolat Dollhouse Castle
- At $288,000 per square foot, the Astolat Dollhouse Castle could make most luxurious apartments in Midtown Manhattan and SoHo, feel like a good bargain.
- The library of the Astolat Dollhouse Castle contains tiny books with tiny letters that can be read under a magnifying glass.
- The bottles in the castle’s bar contain real liquor.
- The dumbwaiter located in the kitchen of the Astolat Dollhouse Castle is said to be in working order.
- The living room of the Astolat Dollhouse Castle features a miniature rock collection and tiny taxidermy.
The Astolat Dollhouse Castle in numbers
- Height: 9 feet tall (2.7 meters)
- Weight: more than 800 pounds (360 kg)
- Number of rooms: 29
- Number of decor items: more than 10,000
- Price: $8.5 million ($2,000 per square inch)
- Assembly time: 2 days and 12 people