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What does an $8.5 million dollhouse look like?

If you think dollhouses are child's play, you haven't seen a dollhouse that's on display in New York
Peek inside an $8.5 million dollhouse 03:13

If you think dollhouses are child's play, you haven't seen the Astolat Dollhouse Castle that's on display in New York's Time Warner Center.

In a city known for budget-busting real estate costs, the nearly $25,000 price per square foot of this dollhouse could even make the barons of Wall Street take pause. Since this home is inhabitable in imagination only, not even Barbie would dream of paying this much.

"The appraisal value is $8.5 million ... largely because of the contents," said Dorothy Twining Globus, project coordinator for the Astolat Dollhouse Castle. "And the current owner has maybe 30,000 pieces ... and so each of these things is worth a certain amount of money, and that adds up very quickly."

A room inside the Astolat Dollhouse Castle CBS News

The dollhouse isn't missing any furnishings.

"The more you look, the more you discover," Twining Globus said.

There's a suit of armor, a serving set of silver and jewelry with real -- albeit very small -- gemstones.

"We have these little tiny necklaces and a pair of earrings that are set with topazes. They're a sixteenth of an inch," Twining Globus said.

"Anyone who has something like this, would you call it borderline obsession?" CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller asked.

"Yes, but I'm a big fan of obsession," Twining Globus said. "I think obsession is important. I'd call it passion too. I think that once you're hooked on dollhouses, you're hooked for life."

Astolat Dollhouse Castle CBS News

The castle was built over a 13-year period stretching across the mid-1970s and '80s. Its owners, who'd like to remain anonymous, are sharing it with the public for the first time.

When set-up requires a crew of six and more than 24 hours, you can see why. But this invitation for passers-by to explore is also an effort to raise money for children's charities.

"We have a number of pieces that they're going to put up for auction because they've got so many pieces they want to share them," Twining Globus said.

"So somebody's actively playing with this house?" Miller asked.

"Well, I wouldn't say playing, but taking care of it," Twining Globus said.

For dollhouse collectors, it's all about the details. Astolat has working lights, books you can read and bottles in the bar filled with real spirits. (You may need quite a few bottles to feel anything," Twining Globus said.)

There is only one resident here. Merlin lives in the nine-feet high castle tower, leaving 28 rooms open for children of all ages to admire.

Merlin is the only resident at the dollhouse CBS News

"It's always evolving. Because, I mean, don't you rearrange your house from time to time?" Twining Globus said, laughing.

"I'd like to, but I can't afford to," Miller said jokingly.

"Well, this is much easier, because you don't need help moving the couch, right?" Twining Globus said.

"Well, with an $8 million appraisal tag, I'd have to say, you'd do it very carefully," Miller said.

"Well, absolutely," Twining Globus said.

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