Antique dollhouses

British: Doll's house, American-English: dollhouse. Miniature homes -also known as dolls houses-, furnished with domestic articles and resident inhabitants, have been made for hundreds of years. The earliest known examples were found in the Egyptian Tombs of the Old Kingdom, created nearly five thousand years ago. These were wooden models of servants, furnishings, boats, livestock and pets and were almost certainly made for religious purposes. The earliest known European dolls houses are from the 16th Century. These hand made baby (or cabinet houses) showed idealized interiors complete with extremely detailed accessories and furnishings.

The early European dolls houses were each unique, constructed on a custom basis by individual craftsmen. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, factories began mass producing toys, including dolls houses and miniatures suitable for furnishing them. Some German companies noted for their dolls houses were Christian Hacker, Moritz Gottschalk, and Moritz Reichel. The list of important English companies includes Siber & Fleming, Evans & Cartwright, and Lines Brothers (which became Tri-ang). By the end of the Nineteenth Century American dollhouses were being made in the United States by The Bliss Manufacturing Company.

Germany was the producer of the most prized dollhouses and doll house miniatures up until The Great War. Notable German miniature companies included Marklin, Rock and Garner and others. Their products were not only avidly collected in Central Europe, but regularly exported to Britain and North America. Germany's involvement in WWI seriously impeded both production and export. New manufacturers in other countries arose.

Dolls house

The TynieToy Company of Providence, Rhode Island, made authentic replicas of American antique houses and furniture in a uniform scale beginning in about 1917. Other American companies of the early Twentieth Century were Roger Williams Toys, Tootsietoy, Schoenhut, and the Wisconsin Toy Co. Dollhouse dolls and miniatures were also produced in Japan, mostly by copying original German designs.

After World War II, dollshouses became mass produced in factories on a much larger scale with less detailed craftsmanship than ever before. By the 1950's, the typical dollhouse sold commercially was painted sheet metal filled with plastic furniture. The cost of these houses was low enough to allow the great majority of girls from the developed western countries that were not struggling with rebuilding after World War II to own a dollhouse.


Updated: 21 October 2020

Antique Dollhouse value and price guide

What's your Marx Dollhouse worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices12/2021AU $-.--

Antique Dollhouse forum

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Comments (6)
Stacy - April 15, 2021
I recently found out that the dollhouse I have is a vintage Gottchalk. How do I find out the actual value of this piece?
Deb - May 11, 2020
Hi I have a single story metal doll house with furniture and would like to know if it has any value, it would be over 50 yrs old. Unable to send photo from here.Deb
Hi, so sorry, not a big expert on these. Have a look here, maybe you can find some houses similar to yours: 1960s tin doll houses
Noreen - March 10, 2020
I have a MARX Toy racj style metal doll house complete with furniture accessories along with the pool/playground accessories ]in it's original box] - can you give me a general value price? The house does have a small bit of rust on one corner of the base that also has a small bend. Thank you!
Hi! Well, Marx made many different dollhouses, so best is to browse this list of Marx tin dollhouses to find some prices. The original box is definitely a plus for collectors.
Catherine - August 16, 2019
Sue, I have also been looking for more information on Wanner furniture for many years. There was a factory making Wanner doll furniture in Georgia up until the early 60's because my family owned the factory. I, too, have an extensive collection of the pieces but now that I am trying to find information there is little to none out there which is unbelievable. I contacted an archivist in Grand Rapids at their public library and there are NO records of Wanner furniture at all. He looked in censuses, phone books, business directories, etc. for a 100 year span and came up with nothing. He had never had an inquiry about the doll furniture until my call and yet he had been there for many, many years. I am keeping a file on what I can find and would love to connect with you. My father, uncle and grandfather owned the factory and it changed names many times. Sadly no one is left in the family that can answer any questions and the georgia factory shifted entirely to kitchen cabinets before closing many years ago.
Thanks for your story Catherine, although Sue's comment is from 2014 I'll forward your message and let's see what happens :-)
Sue - January 19, 2014
Hoping someone will have info on Wanner company who made "plywood" dollhouse furniture in the 1930s. I have a collection of the pieces, all made with decorative nail brads, in a 1" scale. Some are marked Wanner Made in USA and others just "Made in USA". They seemed to be primarily sold in dimestores and drugstores in the midwest (MI,OH,IND, etc.)
Hi Sue, I don't know, but maybe you can contact the webmaster of
Janet - September 6, 2010
l am trying to find were l can found delprado dolls house spares Janet