Here is a closer view of the dollshouse that Naomi gave me for Christmas. Even though I suspected that she was looking for one I didn’t think she would be successful. As I explained previously, dollshouses like this are not often for sale in Australia and when they are on eBay they are usually “pick up only”. Some sellers are nice and if you ask them if they will ship something to you they will but others don’t want the bother I suppose.
These English style dollshouses are obviously easier to find on eBay UK but again shipping is a problem. Some sellers just won’t and even if they do postage and packing is very expensive. Naomi has bought dollshouses and other large toys from overseas before though so she was less intimidated by the difficulties involved and after asking me a lot of questions about my childhood dollshouse she set out to find one.
After we had both unwrapped our presents on Christmas Eve she told me the story of her search for a Triang 61 dollshouse or at least one that looked like it. She actually did find one on sale on the British eBay site. The price was reasonable and so was the condition of the dollshouse; we rarely worry if the old stuff we buy is not in mint condition. The shipping cost was not too bad she said so she bought it and paid for it with Paypal. Shortly after that she was dismayed to receive a message saying that the transaction had been cancelled and her money refunded. She had not received any communication from the sellers to say there was a problem. When she went to browse eBay again she discovered that the dollshouse was for sale once again but with a shipping price to Australia of about $A300. Obviously the shipping to Australia was more than the seller expected, or perhaps they did not expect someone from overseas to buy it but surely the decent thing to do would have been to contact Naomi and explain the situation and ask her if she was prepared to pay extra for shipping. We thought that they were very rude to just cancel the sale with no consultation. Incidentally shipping to Australia for something that size generally costs about a third of what they were asking so all round it was a very discouraging experience. Naomi was disappointed that she was not able to get the house that she knew I would really love to have so she kept looking, hoping to find another one. Unfortunately she could not find one in good condition in the timeframe she’d set herself so she bought me the one pictured above.
This house is not marked with a makers plate, as it is over 50 years old it could have come off. Naomi did not think it was a genuine Triang house. She has been reading up on dollshouse manufacturers and told me that there were a couple of other companies that made houses to similar designs. Some of the companies who were also manufacturing dollshouses at that time were Gee Bee, Peninne, Conway Valley and Woodland Woodcrafts. There were also houses available in kit form from mail order companies such as Hobbies and other companies such as Romside made windows, doors and other parts used by most of the above mentioned companies. This means that it is a lot harder to work out whose house you have just by looking at the layout or the windows.
We have both been doing a lot of searching various websites and I intend to write a post or two about what we’ve learned and include some links but for now I’m just going to show you my new dollshouse as I’m delighted with it. There are a few issues, a missing window and the acetate “glass” is missing from two others but these can be repaired. Naomi has a friend who is very good at this sort of thing and will do it for me if I send him a window to copy from. I believe you can still buy replacement parts too. The wallpaper seems original in most of the rooms and so does the floor covering. The brown flooring you can see in the photo below is modern vinyl which has been cut to fit. The two downstairs rooms don’t have flooring so I will keep it until I get something more age appropriate.
Naomi also gave me a large cardboard box which was filled with wooden furniture and dollshouse dolls. She had found furniture which resembled some of the pieces that I used to have and four hard plastic dolls were just like dolls that we both had as small children and a larger “lady” doll still in her packet. I remember having one exactly like this. As you can see she is rather crudely made. The arms are strung with rubber bands but the legs were rigid.
The four small dolls are strung with rubber bands on their arms and legs and neck. Looking at them now it seems amazing that you would give these to young children. I know we broke our fair share of them. Mum became very good at repairs either with a new rubber band or if we had broken the hooks it was glue or, if she didn’t have any on hand, nail polish. Their little ankles were fragile too and you had to be careful not to snap them off. Some times their eyes would fall in as well.
Naomi had been collecting bits and pieces for the box of goodies by buying lots so there were a few little extras included. There are some costume dolls which I think may have been made by a company called Dolltoi as I’ve seen similar ones online. There are also some tiny baby dolls which date back to the 1920’s and 30’s.
Next time I will show you the furniture in detail.