Loading Spinner

Tea Cars & Bar Carts

Although the term "tea cart" was first used in 1817, the use of tea trolleys or wagons actually dates back to 18th century England. At that time small, elegant tables were used to serve the drink, then an expensive and exotic commodity.

Traditionally, tea carts took the form of a pair of removable shelves on castors that could be easily wheeled from the kitchen or butler's pantry to the room where tea was served. Tea carts were also use for the customary accompaniments to traditional high tea or before-dinner cocktails.

Fixtures in proper Victorian households, tea carts were essential accessories for entertaining. The room was ready for guests when it had a fine china tea pot, an array of stylish cups and saucers, finger sandwiches, condiments, and a freshly-picked bouquet of flowers.

When daily formal teas and luncheons began to fall out of favor in the 1930s, tea carts were adopted for new uses, namely as a cocktail service cart. Rolling bar carts are traditionally stocked with bottles of wine, spirits, liqueurs, bitters, vermouths, glasses, cocktail shakers, stirrers, and an ice bucket.

Fashioned from wood, wicker, brass, and wrought iron, both tea carts and bar carts hold a special allure for a certain segment of auction watchers.


Quick Facts

  • In a 2015 Screenbid auction, a glass and metal bar cart used in the hit TV series "Mad Men" sold for $1,300
  • A mid-century modern tea cart made from wood, laminate, glass, and stainless steel sold at a Skinner auction for $720
  • In 2014, an early-20th century Heywood-Wakefield wicker tea cart was picked up by a bidder at a Skinner auction for only $49

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

bp parity badge
VINTAGE SERVING CART
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
VINTAGE SERVING CART
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$1910 Bids
Vintage Italian Wood Liquor Cart
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Vintage Italian Wood Liquor Cart
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $20- $200
$1004 Bids
Lehmann Tap Tap Cart Wind Up Tin Toy
Oct 30, 9:00 AM CDT
Lehmann Tap Tap Cart Wind Up Tin Toy
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $150- $300
$1603 Bids
Vintage Wooden Drop Leaf Tea Cart
Oct 29, 5:00 PM EDT
Vintage Wooden Drop Leaf Tea Cart
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$222 Bids
Stainless steel trolley (h86 x w100 x d57cm)
Oct 29, 9:30 AM AEDT
Stainless steel trolley (h86 x w100 x d57cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD40- AUD60
AUD202 Bids
Antique French brass mantle bar, approx 98cm W
Oct 31, 9:30 AM AEDT
Antique French brass mantle bar, approx 98cm W
by Vickers & Hoad
Est: AUD50- AUD75
AUD401 Bid
Serving trolley, 20th century, 2
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
Serving trolley, 20th century, 2
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1400 Bids
English bar/serving trolley, 2
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
English bar/serving trolley, 2
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1400 Bids
MID-CENTURY MARQUETRY INLAID ITALIAN BAR CART.
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
MID-CENTURY MARQUETRY INLAID ITALIAN BAR CART.
by Marion Antique Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
Pair of serving/planting troll
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Pair of serving/planting troll
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1600 Bids
Mid-Century bar cart/serving trol
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
Mid-Century bar cart/serving trol
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1800 Bids
Attribué à India MAHDAVI (née en 1962)
Oct 30, 2:00 PM CEST
Attribué à India MAHDAVI (née en 1962)
by Côte Basque Enchères
Est: €300- €400
€3000 Bids
Deutschland, 50er Jahre: Barwagen (Werksentwurf)
Oct 30, 2:00 PM CEST
Deutschland, 50er Jahre: Barwagen (Werksentwurf)
by Peter Karbstein - Kunst und Auktionshaus
Est: €450- €550
€3300 Bids
REGENCY BAR PRODUCTS Bar Cart
Nov 17, 10:00 AM EST
REGENCY BAR PRODUCTS Bar Cart
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $100- $250
$10 Bids
A gilded metal drinks cart. Spain 1970's
Oct 28, 5:00 PM CEST
A gilded metal drinks cart. Spain 1970's
by Duran Arte Y Subastas
Est: €0- €0
€1200 Bids
Ornate Wrought Iron Tea Cart
Oct 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Ornate Wrought Iron Tea Cart
by Regency Auction House
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
Danish Mid-Century Modern Tea Cart
Oct 29, 9:30 AM EDT
Danish Mid-Century Modern Tea Cart
by Merrill's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $150- $250
$500 Bids
bp parity badge
India Rosewood Tea Cart
Nov 03, 10:00 AM EDT
India Rosewood Tea Cart
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $100- $150
$300 Bids
bp parity badge
Italian Tea Cart
Nov 03, 10:00 AM EDT
Italian Tea Cart
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $60- $120
$300 Bids
Early DC-3 Aluminum Cocktail Serving Cart
Oct 29, 9:30 AM EDT
Early DC-3 Aluminum Cocktail Serving Cart
by Merrill's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $300- $500
$1000 Bids
CENTRAL EUROPEAN SCHOOL, FIRST THIRD 18TH CENTURY. Cart in a landscape.
Oct 28, 4:00 PM CEST
CENTRAL EUROPEAN SCHOOL, FIRST THIRD 18TH CENTURY. Cart in a landscape.
by Balclis
Est: €2,500- €3,000
€2,5000 Bids
A Jacobean Style Butlers Trolley
Nov 15, 11:00 AM AEDT
A Jacobean Style Butlers Trolley
by Theodore Bruce
Est: AUD60- AUD120
AUD300 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Tea Cars & Bar Carts


Lawsons

Lawsons

Adam's

Adam's

Merrill's Auctioneers & Appraisers

Merrill's Auctioneers & Appraisers

Historia Auktionshaus

Historia Auktionshaus