A couple’s collection of more than 2,000 dolls has gone up for auction after a flood ruined their dream of opening a diner and antique doll museum.

The toys, collected over 20 years by Maurine Arsenault and her husband, were put up for sale to the highest bidder in High River, near Calgary, Alta.

The assortment, worth an estimated $400,000, includes pristine China dolls from the 1800s, classic Chatty Cathy dolls and many that are still sealed in their original packaging.

The Arsenault’s building was destroyed by flooding in 2013, but luckily none of the dolls were inside.

The figures range in price from $10 to $8,000.

“We basically had to close that dream, open a new door and start selling off,” Arsenault told CTV News Calgary.

“We left the dolls to the end. They’re hard to part with and there are many memories into each piece I bought.”

Alvin Miller, with Miller’s Auction Service, is overseeing the massive sale and says bidders can either come in person this weekend and next or watch the auction live on the web and bid online.

He says the quality of the dolls is a big draw to the Arseneault’s sale, the largest and most extensive doll auction Miller’s conducted.

“It’s exceptional. We got people registered from all over the [United] States, in Canada for the sale this weekend and next weekend,” he said.

Arsenault says the appeal of dolls comes from people’s fond childhood memories.

“We’re spanning over 100 years in this room and there are so many things to offer that I just know that other people would love to take my dream and share a little piece of it. That’s my hopes.”

“For someone who wanted that doll in the 70s and couldn’t afford it, to be able to offer it to them, that’s amazing.”

The auction is taking place at High River’s Heritage Inn, but you can also check it out online.

---- With files from CTV Calgary’s Alesia Fieldberg