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Top Miniature Buildings, Cottages and Villages

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Several companies produce collectible cottages, villages and architectural models. Themes range from Christmas and Halloween through historic cottages and landmark buildings to some of the worlds greatest architecture. Prices vary widely and many companies have collectors clubs.

Some collectors collect only particular sections of a range, if you are buying an item as a gift, check to find out exactly which items are on that person's wish list.

These top picks are listed in alphabetical order

1. Department 56 Villages

Department 56 began creating village scenes with the Snow Village collection of six houses in 1976. It is part of the Lenox group and produces several different collections: The Alpine Village, Animated Snow Village, Original Snow Village, Dickens Village, New England Village, Christmas in the City, The North Pole, The Holy Land, Historical Landmarks, and several others including Halloween villages. There is a National Council of Department 56 Clubs

The main website features lots of display ideas and there are Department 56 history lists (in pdf format)

2. Michel Dupuy

Miniature buildings of Alsace are the specialty of Michel Dupuy. His website shows beautifully detailed historic Alsatian buildings in a number of ceramic series.

3. Domenique Gault

Dominique Gault miniatures are collectible houses made in France featuring typical buildings from Paris, Provence, Tuscany and Alsace. Entire villages can be easily created from these houses and their many accessories. There are also some buildings from Venice and London. The miniatures come in two distinct product lines, a high end ceramic line and a popular J. Carlton resin line.

Gaultville showcases collections of Domenique Gault houses from around the world.

4. Hawthorne Village

Hawthorne Village is a division of the Bradford Group which sells a wide range of cottage and Christmas village lines singly and through subscriptions. Their range includes Thomas Kincade's cottage ranges (Christmas village, Seaside Winter Village, Lamplight Village, Victorian Christmas Village, Hometown Village, Mistletoe Mountain) as well as more unusual village subjects such as Dale Earnhardt's Christmas Village Collection and Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas Village Town Collection. Prices for their collection range from $50-$135.

5. Lemax Village Collection

Lemax produce a wide range of houses for Christmas and Hallow’een villages in several collections, including Vail Village, Caddington Village, Plymouth Corners, Santa’s Wonderland, Sugar N Spice, Carnival and Spooky Town. All their product lines are listed on their website and are available through a wide variety of stores. These buildings come in lit and unlit versions and range in price from $15 up.

6. Lilliput Lane

Front view of the Lilliput Lane collectible cottage "Millers".
Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
David Tate founded Lilliput Lane in 1982, and the company (a division of Enesco) celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2007. A wide range of British, Dutch and French cottages are produced in this range as well as the British Heritage Collection which includes Buckingham Palace. There are also American Landmark cottages as well as illuminated cottages. A Pdf catalogue is available online and includes a list of retired pieces. There is also a collectors club. Prices of Lilliput Lane cottages range from $30-$2000.

7. Miniature Building Authority Collectible Buildings

Miniature Country Cottage designed for wargaming.
Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
The Miniature Building Authority have an extensive line of collectible miniature buildings and accessories in 25mm and 15mm scale for wargamers, model railways in 0 and S scale, or to use as collectible village pieces. These are sturdy buildings, cast from resin with clear mold lines and details, and finished with strong textures and paint. The buildings are complete with roofs which lift off to expose the interior and some have detailed painted interiors. Interior floors lift out in buildings with more than one story. Some buildings divide to be used as intact or as destroyed structures, making them useful for Halloween and Christmas scenes in 1:48 scale or less as well as railroad scenes and gaming scenarios.

8. John Putnam Houses

John Putnam Houses produces ceramic miniatures of traditional British and American houses. The houses are widely available online, prices range from $10 to $50

9. Timothy Richards

Timothy Richards produces fine plaster architectural models of famous buildings from around the world. His models are available as bookends, architectural models and limited edition collectors pieces. The building detail and soft uniform finish make these truly remarkable examples of the best of the world’s architecture.

The range includes items as simple as a traditional British post box, through to famous historic buildings (Ellis Island) and some of the world’s most splendid buildings. His stated purpose is to leave behind a legacy of models that define and catalogue the pivotal buildings of architecture.

10. Wade Whimsey Villages

Why Knot Inn miniature cottage from the Whimsey on Why collection by Wade England.
Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

The Wade porcelain factories produced several ranges of collectible miniature village buildings between 1980 and 1998. Whimsey on Why, Wade Bally Whim, Whimsey in the Vale and several special building sets, including a set of San Francisco Painted Ladies can be found as tiny porcelain buildings between one and two inches high.

11. David Winter Cottages

David Winter Cottages have been in production since 1979. Now semi retired, David Winter continues to produce cottages for release only through the Friends of David Winter Collectors Guild. Past editions of his cottages were available through a wide range of distributors and are widely traded with a wide range of prices. The cottages are traditional British Cottages with a Christmas cottage range based on Dickens Christmas Carol. The range is very wide, many of the cottages can be viewed online via the David Winter Information website

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