The $8.5 Million Astolat Dollhouse Castle: World’s Most Expensive Dollhouse

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Appraised at $8.5 million, the Astolat Dollhouse Castle costs more than a fully furnished condo in New York City. But then, this is no ordinary dollhouse. It’s nine feet tall, has 29 rooms, weighs 800 pounds and is furnished with 10,000 miniature pieces including extravagant furnishings, working fireplaces, stained glass panels, oil paintings, mirrors, gold miniature jewelry, fine rugs and fabric, and even rare-mini books more than 100 years old. All of these were meticulously handcrafted by artisans from all over the world.

The dollhouse was created primarily by Colorado-based miniaturist Elaine Diehl, after she got inspired by Alfred Tennyson's poetry about the Lady of the Lake. Over a thirteen year period, between 1974 and 1987, Elaine Diehl built the castle taking help of experts and miniature artists from around the world.


Photo credit: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg

From Wikipedia:

Consisting of seven levels, stairways, and hallways, Astolat Dollhouse Castle was created for 360 degree viewing. As with the Colleen Moore dollhouse certain exterior walls are fixed to create a 3-D viewing experience. The basement level consists of the Knights Of Columbus room, wine cellar, kitchens, and the armory. The main floor contains the entrance foyer, main stairway, and butler's closet. Next level up contains the formal living room, dining room, and music room and its audience balcony. The fourth level contains the private library containing duelling pistols,a library of miniature books, fireplace, miniature daguerreotypes, and the oil painting display area. Fifth level contains the sleeping quarters. Sixth floor contains the grand ballroom, musician's alcove, bar area and sitting rooms. Wizards's tower is on the top level and contains hand painted zodiac signs, telescope, observatory and astronomical depictions.

Astolat Dollhouse Castle was initially displayed in Diehl's museum shop in Sedona, Arizona until her retirement in 1996. It was then acquired by collector L. Freeman and moved to the Nassau County Museum of Art. Freeman did a lot of upgrading of the dollhouse’s interior herself. There are now reportedly 30,000 miniatures pieces in the Astolat Dollhouse Castle collection. The inventory is rotated with only about 10,000 displayed at any one time.

Unfortunately, the dollhouse is never on permanent public display. It only makes rare public appearances like it did in New York City last year for about four weeks.

These pictures were snapped during that exhibition.


Photo credit: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg


Photo credit: Emily Anne Epstein / The Atlantic


Photo credit: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg


Photo credit: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg


Photo credit: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg


Photo credit: Emily Anne Epstein / The Atlantic


Photo credit: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg


Photo credit: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg


Photo credit: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg


Photo credit: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg


Photo credit: Astolat Dollhouse Castle


Photo credit: Emily Anne Epstein / The Atlantic


Photo credit: Emily Anne Epstein / The Atlantic


Photo credit: Emily Anne Epstein / The Atlantic


Curator Dorothy Twining Globus (for the New York exhibition) standing next to the 9-foot-tall castle, which has an exterior wall opened on its hinges. Photo credit: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg

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1 comment:

  1. 800 TONS????? I don't think so, probably more like 800 POUNDS.


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