A Victorian doll’s house built by a couple for their daughter more than 150 years ago has sold at auction for a staggering £42,450 – four times its estimate.
The beautifully furnished toy was made in 1850 by Mr and Mrs Newton of Liverpool for their daughter Emma when she was six-years-old.
Mr Newton, a lawyer, was a keen amateur carpenter who designed and built the house and most of the furniture.
Mrs Newton, meanwhile, made all the furnishings and the bedclothes.
The stunning toy was expected to sell for between £10,000 and £15,000 when it went under the hammer at Chorley’s auction house in Gloucestershire.
But the auction room was left stunned when the winning bidder ended up paying £42,450.
Chorley’s and the owner had made sure the house and its furniture were sold as a complete package rather than in parts, with an anonymous buyer swooping in.
The doll’s house was sold by informal tender so the owner could decided which offer to accept.
A spokesperson for the auction house said: “When Chorley’s were asked to sell the most beautiful early Victorian doll’s house, there was one problem; how could this be done without the house and its extremely pricey contents being split and sold off individually?
“The client agreed to a sale by informal tender as being the best way to proceed.
“This form of sale in the antique world is uncommon, but as with the sale of land and property, it is a method of sale that is flexible and the client has the right to choose an offer that may not necessarily be the highest but the one they feel the happiest with.
“Those offering tenders can also be informed as to the position of their bid and if they are minded to, they can adjust their original bid in the hopes that this adjustment will secure them the property.
“Parties from across the country expressed interest in the Newton Doll’s House, as it is now called, and many submitted tenders.
“After much consultation, Chorley’s client was pleased to accept an offer of nearly three times the original estimate from a doll’s house collector to become the next ‘Newton Housekeeper’.
“The final sale price was £42,450 and with its future as a complete Victorian dwelling now secure, both the previous and the new owner are delighted with the outcome.”
Later on in the 19th century, the doll’s house moved to Askham Richard in Yorkshire when Emma married the Rev. Usher Miles, and was much loved and played with by their five daughters.
On the death of her husband in 1912, Mrs Miles moved to Cheltenham where the doll’s house remained until her death in 1931, when a home was found for it with her second son, Dr William Miles at Bewdley, Worcestershire.
When he in turn died in 1953, the doll’s house was moved to Gloucester and was in the possession of his eldest daughter, Mrs Pauline Taylor until 1972, when it passed to the owner who sold it at the auction.
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