Alderfer Auction to sell Smallsea Museum Collection of Miniatures, July 19, 20, 22

This lot represents the main circus acts: weightlifter, magician, clowns, juggler, ringmaster, lion tamer, wild animals and a host of others, as well as summer market figures. Estimate: $2,000-$5,000. Alderfer Auction image


HATFIELD, PA – On July 19, 20 and 22, Alderfer Auction will offer the Smallsea Museum Collection of Miniatures. Assembled over the past 25 years, this collection features 1,000 pieces of furniture and accessories, 40 custom buildings, 500 dolls, more than 25 automobiles, carts and carriages. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

The Smallsea Museum in Carmel, California, was famous for its “Metropolis in Miniature.” Smallsea, the fictional English town, was conceived and brought to life by Diane and Howard Birnberg.

Artists represented in the Smallsea Collection are from around the world and span decades.


This building was made by Vic Newey of the UK. It was acquired by the Birnbergs at an auction in England and then minimally converted into a brewery. There was no change to the exterior and superficial interior decoration. With research on Victorian and Edwardian breweries, Diane Birnberg made vats, a boiler and related equipment. The Old Mill Brewery was featured in ‘DollsHouse and Miniature Scene,’ July 2012. Estimate: $2,000-$5,000. Alderfer Auction image


Visitors to the museum had their favorites, such as the special events portrayed around Smallsea Town Hall, one of the major dollhouse buildings in the collection. These seasonal exhibits included Spring at Town Hall, with the park filled with flowers, citizens (dolls) dressed in their best spring clothes and music by the organ grinder. For autumn the trees displayed brilliant colors, while pumpkin and apple sellers shared their harvest. The cider vendor served his popular beverage with biscuits to the park crowd. The winter festival at the Smallsea Museum was a great treat during the holiday season. The displays sported an ice skating rink with skaters and a skate shop. A holiday market with kiosks displayed gingerbread and other baked treats, an array of sparkling ornaments and German traditional wooden decorations, and a holiday emporium full of toys and gifts – all in 1:12 scale miniature.


Day 1 of the Smallsea Museum Collection auction will begin with the town’s barber shop and contents, which were made by miniaturist Barbara Jones of the UK. Estimate: $50-$250. Alderfer Auction image


Alderfer Auction will sell these and hundreds of additional lots in the three-day auction beginning at noon Eastern all three days.
The auction is sure to draw worldwide interest.


Two of the hundreds of figures from the Smallsea Museum Collection include ‘Tommy the Newsboy’ by Sue White and the elder ‘Newsboy’ by Margaret Murphy, both noted UK miniaturists. Estimate: $50-$250. Alderfer Auction image


For more information contact Alderfer Auction at 215-393-3000.