A Szalasi Castle
by Charles Kellenbereger
I’m not sure I would classify myself as a doll collector, since I have only one type of collection. I am a builder by trade who happened to be doing some work for an antique dealer at her own house. She was retired and had an overabundance of antiques that she prized over the years. She did collect doll houses and she had enough in storage for each of her granddaughters.
She asked one day if I would be interested in purchasing this doll house that needed some repairs. She quoted a price and I declined and we dropped the issue. A few weeks later she asked again and stated a price I could not refuse. All she had was pictures so when I got them home and opened the boxes I was surprised at the detail that the manufacturer had put into it.
She had acquired it from someone in Wichita, Kansas, at an estate sale, who had received it as a little girl in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s. Her father had purchased it for her. This antique dealer that I got it from said she was the second owner. None of the lights were working so over a period of years, I was able to repair the lighting as it was originally. The bulbs were good; it just needed a little lead to connect the open ends.
From the information that I have been able to scrape up, this Doll Castle was made by Rudolf Szalasi of Germany, who during the late 1940’s and early 1950 created this fairy tale Rococo style wedding castle, complete with his Spielwaren Puppen Möbel (German for toy dolls furniture). He marketed this in Bavaria Germany, and apparently it has never been duplicated. There have been others made but he changed the design a little bit. I did talk to someone recently and they felt there were 3 or 4 of these castles made.
It currently is stored in my basement and it is a shame that others can’t enjoy the beauty and the detail. I have no way of finding out who would be interested in this doll house. From talking with others recently, they say there is no market for what I will describe.
- The main Castle is 4’6” wide, 1’4” deep and 3’4” tall.
- The grand stair case is removable.
- The copper dome is copper sheets over a wood slat construction.
- The electrical unit works off 110v wall outlet.
- The ballroom is 5’0” deep, 1’6” wide and 2’0” tall with an orchestra wing that is 1’6”wide and 9” deep. The ballroom floor looks like it’s made with hard maple and inlays with ebony wood. There are four dancing couples which rotate as the music box plays.
- The entire castle has 343 working 1.5 volt x5/8” candelabra bulbs.
- Four painted wooded prancing horses with a golden carriage with a swinging door for access.
- There are 48 pieces of furniture, and many have the typical red and gold sticker on the bottom of the furniture saying Spielwaren Puppen Möbel, made in Germany.
- There are 19 pedestal candelabra stands with 9 bulbs on each stand.
- There are 12 short pedestal candelabra stands with 1 and 3 bulbs each.
- There are 18 wall sconces with 2 to 5 bulbs on each sconce.
- There are 15 white cherubs w/gold painted musical instruments that sit on the edge and corner of the castle.
- There are 17 hanging chandeliers.
- There are 2 baby grand pianos.
- There are 7 wall hanging tapestries (varying in size).
- There are 3 pieces of carpets.
- There are 12 mirrors.
- There are 43 fully dressed “Erna Meyer“ dolls, these doll are very pliable and are not fragile at all.
- Almost all of the painted detailing on the interior scalloping is perfect, however there is some scalloping missing on the balconies and roof.
This doll castle is exquisitely made and is in near perfect condition except for the few items above. You don’t have to be a craftsman to appreciate the detail and the intricate workmanship that was put into this fairytale project.
It would be wonderful if someone could acquire this castle and it could be displayed where anyone who comes in contact with it can be inspired as the author was who created it.