In August 2010, I visited an auction viewing. The Mildred Mahoney Dollhouse in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada had closed due to financial pressures and was auctioning off its displays.
The museum had first opened as the Mildred Mahoney Silver Jubilee Dolls’ House Gallery in 1987. According to a note in IDHN in Summer 1990, it held over 120 fully furnished dolls houses, dating from 1780 to 1980, many of them British. In each house, there was a tiny shoe on the stairs by the front door, reflecting Mrs Mahoney’s own habit of kicking off her shoes as soon as she got home.
The museum was housed in Bertie Hall, a Greek revival building dating from 1826, which itself had an interesting history, including use as a safe house on the ‘underground railway’ for slaves escaping from the American South. However, 23 years later, the contents were to be sold. Here are photos of most of the things that were up for auction.
This looks like a peddlar’s stall, but is actually a Wizard’s Workbench:
A room from the Woburn house, ca 1890:
Look at the lovely workmanship in these vehicles and tools:
The Kensington Kerr House, c1809:
Some whimsy here with the Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe (Grecon dolls, and a real boot!), and a cat as a veterinary surgeon:
The Tuesday House, 1983, made of redwood and cedar:
A Louis XIV bird cage:
I took this photo so you can see how large these two actually are:
Sea Captain's house (the front of the house is propped against the stand):
As well as a Nuremberg kitchen, the museum had several other kitchen sets, including a tin litho Little Orphan Annie set:
Shops were also represented:
This general store contains more than 5000 items:
A Mystery house, c1895, very like the one in Ann Meehan’s collection:
This house is entirely made from match sticks:
The Imperial palace of Hawaii:
A Japanese doll display for Hina Matsuri, the Japanese doll festival held annually on March 3rd:
The House of Ipswich:
A Folk Art House:
This is a dental cabinet!
Each of the bricks on the house facade are made of individual pieces of wood:
Belvedere house c1850:
Paper litho houses and stables:
The Leaded Glass House, and a tiny house made of tin from Wales:
This is not actually a dollshouse. It was built as an architect's model and was on display at the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876.
A castle dining room:
A Country Club lobby:
A clothes mangle ...I'm not aware of ever having seen a modern miniature mangle:
More metal furniture:
A tin bath set with great decoration:
A folding bed, and furniture made of beads, seeds and shells:
I hope you've enjoyed this view from the Mildred Mahoney dollhouse museum. These were all items up for auction and will now be in private hands. The full listing of auction lots can still be seen online at Plato Auctions.