Finding The Value Of Precious Metal Dollhouses by Joan Bramsch copyright: 1999
From publication Antique Trader Weekly
The art of creating miniature scenes and rooms has been traced and documented to ancient Egyptian times, this is according to a member of Tiny Talk, an internet Newsgroup comprised of almost 400 miniaturists from around world, who exchange tips, swaps and mini help with each other. Several famous personalities have enjoyed collecting dollhouses, some of them to point of obsession. For example: in early 18th century, Princess Augusta Dorothea von Schwarzburg-Arnstadt actually bankrupted her husband's estate and died in debt to Catholic Church, all to make 'Mon Plaisir,' a recreation of an 18th century German Court (Classic Dolls Houses, Faith Eaton). Furnished dollhouses were also used in long ago times by mothers to teach their daughters how to run an acceptable household. And yet, miniatures started out as a serious adult pastime and weren't included as children's toys until pieces were available commercially and so, as with all things, history repeats itself. Miniatures and dollhouses are again considered very collectible adult toys.
In Victorian times, houses were made from wood, then cardboard houses became quite popular. Later in 20th century, metal dollhouses came into vogue. Marx, Wolverine and Cohn were among producers of most popular models.
Twentieth Century Classics Louis Marx & Co., Inc. began business after World War II, producing wind-up mechanical toys and metal trucks and cars. In 1949, company produced its first metal dollhouse. Featured in Sears Christmas catalog it was called 'Disney' house, so named because cartoon characters were festooned along nursery walls. The 'Disney' had five rooms, garage and patio, and was fully furnished and electrified for only $4.98. Value today is $75-$100. For over 20 years, Marx made metal dollhouses, often using same model year after year. Painted in different colors and architectural design, house had several interchangeable components which could be mixed and matched to create different styles or sizes. In this way, they met requirements of varied sale prices. The L-shaped ranch house was new in 1953 and sold in Sears Christmas catalog for $7.29 furnished. Value today is $70-$100, unfurnished; $125- $150, furnished.
Marx's most expensive house appeared in 1962 Sears catalog. It featured dormer windows, an inside staircase, a ringing doorbell, lighting, a 'Florida' room complete with jalousie window, awnings, shutters and painted-on flower filled window boxes beneath front windows, plus complete furnishings --all for $15.88. Boy, weren't those days? Present value is $100 plus.