Astolat Dollhouse Castle – £6.8m

Approximate value



The Astolat Dollhouse Castle stands as a unique masterpiece, officially valued at a staggering $8.5 million. Soaring to a height of 9 feet and weighing over 800 pounds, this extraordinary creation is a captivating ensemble of 10,000 valuable miniatures.

Recently, Astolat concluded a rare public exhibition at the Time-Warner Center in the heart of New York City, situated at Columbus Circle. The purpose was to generate funds and raise awareness for children’s charities, adding a meaningful dimension to this remarkable display.

Crafted between 1974 and 1987 by the renowned Colorado miniaturist Elaine Diehl, assisted by experts and miniature artisans worldwide, the Astolat Dollhouse Castle draws inspiration from Tennyson’s Lady of the Shallot. Evolving since its completion, the castle has undergone continuous updates, with thousands of exquisite miniatures seamlessly integrated.

Esteemed reviewers and publications have lauded the Astolat Dollhouse Castle as an important representation of American art, both historically and aesthetically. It stands as one of the world’s finest miniature structures, defying contemporary norms and leaving observers speechless.

Featuring a weaponry room, a dovecote, a wizard’s tower, and an astonishing appraised value exceeding $2,000 per square inch, this 9-foot-tall marvel challenges the conventions of a traditional abode. Created by artist Elaine Diehl around 1980, adorned with 10,000 intricately detailed items, the Astolat Dollhouse Castle has earned the distinction of being the world’s most expensive dollhouse. Witness this unparalleled creation at the Shops at Columbus Circle, within Manhattan’s Time Warner Center, from Thursday through Dec. 8—an opportunity to marvel at a truly extraordinary piece of art. For further details on this captivating project, click here.

Astolat Dollhouse Castle

Over the course of 13 years, Elaine Diehl, a renowned miniature artist, dedicated her craftsmanship to the construction of the dollhouse. This extraordinary creation is now appraised at a remarkable $8.5 million, translating to an impressive value of approximately $288,000 per square foot. This valuation puts the opulent apartments at the Time Warner Center, often priced at around $5,000 per square foot, in a perspective that might make them seem comparable to servants’ quarters in comparison.

The dollhouse derives its name from the castle featured in "The Lady of Shallot," a 19th-century ballad penned by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

The dollhouse derives its name from the castle featured in “The Lady of Shallot,” a 19th-century ballad penned by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

The Astolat Castle is the most expensive dollhouse in the world

Is that a fountain we spy out front? Why yes, it is. And some amazing topiary flanking the front door, which leads into a grand entrance hall.

Inside the world's most expensive dollhouse.

A plethora of suits of armor graces the surroundings, constituting a distinctive element and contributing significantly to the castle’s overall value. The dollhouse’s substantial appraisal is rooted in its recognition as a work of art, taking into account the value assigned to the myriad tiny objects it houses. Notably, a silver flatware set within this miniature realm is rumored to carry a valuation of $5,000.

Interior detail of the Astolat Dollhouse Castle

In this view, with the hinges gracefully unfolded, the intricate details come into focus. Similar to the grandeur of any distinguished residence, the dollhouse boasts authentic finishes such as genuine parquet floors, marble-clad bathrooms, and gilded trim. These elements collectively evoke the impression that the castle once housed a Victorian lady wedded to a medieval warlord.

Among the more exquisite details are meticulously hand-stitched tapestries, genuine lapis lazuli vases, and reproductions of 18th-century oil paintings—like the miniature rendition of Thomas Lawrence’s Pinkie, gracefully presented on the salon wall in postage-size proportions. Feel free to indulge in a cocktail and take a moment to relax in this captivating ambiance.

Within the library, miniature books featuring tiny letters await exploration with the aid of a magnifying glass. Notably, the book collection encompasses a Bible acclaimed as one of the world’s tiniest. Adding to the library’s charm, a drop-leaf secretary bookshelf holds an appraised value of up to $2,500, while a diminutive Hebrew Torah was valued similarly at the time of acquisition.

Sure. A miniature rock collection.

Transported in 66 boxes, the castle made its journey to the Time Warner Center and required over 20 hours for meticulous assembly. Towering at a height of 9 feet and boasting a weight exceeding 800 pounds, this remarkable creation has spent its existence indoors, preserving the copper roofs from developing the characteristic green patina associated with outdoor exposure.

Tiny taxidermy. That is all.

The bottles in the castle’s bar contain real liquor. We spy Jameson, Bailey’s, and Gordon’s Gin, not to mention some wine of an undisclosed vintage. Anybody for a drop?

On the contrary, the food within the dollhouse is likely crafted from polymer resin, as suggested by curator Dorothy Twining Globus. This reminiscent scenario harks back to Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Two Bad Mice,” wherein two rodents wreak havoc in a dollhouse upon realizing that the dining room table’s food is made of plaster.

The dumbwaiter is said to be in working order.

The first dollhouses date back to the 17th century, according to Twining Globus, when they were seen not as child’s toys but displays of fine craftsmanship acquired by wealthy families in Holland, Germany, and England.

Dollhouses were mass produced beginning in the 19th century, said Twining Globus, and soon became a children’s staple. Today, Toys R Us sells dollhouses for as little as $29.99 and as much as $329.99.

The world’s most famous dollhouse was built in 1924 for Queen Mary by the architect Edwin Lutyens and has been displayed at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, England. Although with “The World’s Most Expensive” title, Astolat Castle is nipping at its heels.

The owners of Astolat Castle have a collection of 30,000 items that can rotate through the house on an ongoing basis.

The bathroom is stocked with a hand towel and actual, usable toilet paper (for a very tiny bum).

The view through a window into a child’s room …

… containing rocking horse and fairy princess.

Thanks to the chinoiserie wall hanging and plush low-slung bed, this room is known as the Opium Den.

A weaponry room, for fighting minor wars.

After the current exhibition ends, the owners hope to tour the dollhouse to other locations to raise money for children’s charities.

Here, a shelter for domesticated pigeons.

The lone doll occupying Astolat is a wizard perched in a castle spire—Merlin, we presume.

Curator Dorothy Twining Globus standing next to the 9-foot-tall castle, which has an exterior wall opened on its hinges.

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