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Planning Retirement Online

Family Treasures - Edition 4 

Family Treasures

Jill Churchill, who writes on antiques and collectables for YOURS magazine, continues her series     

Doll’s house furniture 

It was just four inches high, a mahogany piecrust end-table, dated 1750 by the experts.  In Bonham’s at London’s Knightsbridge branch, it fetched 1600 a few years ago – a sign of the boom in doll’s house furniture and doll’s house occupants.

Although 16th and 17th century pieces are rarest, with values going into four figures, there’s money to be made from a 19th century  house clearance when it’s in miniature: our Victorian ancestors really went to town on these nursery ornaments, furnishing open-front four-room ‘box’ houses down to the last little saucepan and mangle. 



Treasures made of tin

Until World War I, we were were importing dolls and their accessories from flourishing factories in Germany. A set of German table, chair and sofa, all of printed tin plate, is worth 750 today. And if you’re lucky enough to have a similar miniature grandfather clock (not  a working model, note) it’s easily 300.

Tin-plate toys were made in England, too: the firm of Evans & Cartwright, Wolverhampton, is a favourite with collectors: one of their four inch tin ‘walnut’ tables was another 300 item. Look for marks on the back.

Tiny knives, forks and spoons rarely survive unscathed -  a good set, about one inch long and made of tin, can be worth 60; and wooden hand-painted tea services are around 100.  

Value of the dolls

The residents of these miniature households are worth most if they are still in their original clothes. An early 19th century ‘china shoulder’ doll with wooden  body, china limbs and head, is 200; if earlier and made of all wood (a ‘peg’ doll) she could be 250.

Perhaps the strangest of all, and worth 60, are the little figures of babies in bathtubs: moulded of rigid china, they’re called (don’t ask me why) ‘frozen Charlottes’.    


Previous editions:

Family Treasures - 1

Family Treasures - 2

Family Treasures - 3

Family Treasures - 4

For subsequent editions - see the laterlife interest index



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