Dolls' Houses Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls' houses: antique, vintage and modern. Plus furniture and accessories.

The Auction House                                                   by Barbara King

(All pictures throughout article are items won at auction)


Your local general auction is a great place to find doll’s house bargains, or even doll’s house treasures. Many small auction houses know little or nothing at all about doll’s houses. You can often find a box of furniture alongside the boxes of crockery and books, or a doll’s house may be hiding under a trestle table and may be full of goodies!

Most small auctions houses now place lists of their ‘lots’ on line, often with only the briefest description, and often only a day or two before the sale. It is worth checking the auctions in your local area and if a dolls house is mentioned, go and have a look.

If you have the time go to the auction preview anyway, you can often come across doll’s house pieces mixed in with other items, it is well worth rummaging.


So you went along to the preview and you found a gorgeous dolls house, what next?

Top tips: before the auction

* Find out what the estimate is and decide what you think it is worth.

* Always get to the sale early and remember to register to bid.

* Check your lot over, make sure it is how you remember it.

* Decide on your maximum bid, and stick to it.

* Remember there is commission and VAT to pay on top of the hammer

    price. (this varies).

Top tips: at the auction


* Get yourself a nice comfy seat and enjoy the auction.

* Pay attention, things move very fast.

* Never bid on the Auctioneer’s starting price, they will drop the price if no

     one shows any interest.

* You do not have to worry about scratching your head or coughing, it does

     not work like that.

* When you want to bid just raise your hand, the Auctioneer will then look to

     you at each bid increment, you either nod or shake your head, simple.

* If you win the bid you hold up your bidders card and the lovely doll’s house

     is yours.


The next step is to go and have a cup of tea and recover! This gives the staff time to process your sale, you can then go and pay. Most houses accept cash, credit or debit cards, cheques need to be cleared.


Once you have paid you can take your lovely house home and enjoy it.

If it’s all too much for you

Buying at auction can be very exciting, nerve racking, exhilarating, (when you win),but if this is all too much for you, just fill in a commission bid form after viewing and go home and relax!


The auction house will then bid on your behalf and all you have to do is phone the next day to see if you have won.

Specialist toy auctions

There are of course specialist toy auctions around the country, these are always worth looking at, but the items at these sales can be very expensive. If there is something you really want have a go anyway but be prepared to pay a bit more.

For me, you cannot beat the thrill of the search, and of finding the little unexpected treasures that turn up in the general auctions. The cafes always serve delicious cakes as well!!!


Happy hunting!

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