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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

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Rattan Beverage Cart and a Bamboo Open Low Shelf
Nov 29, 10:00 AM EST
Rattan Beverage Cart and a Bamboo Open Low Shelf
by Weschler's
Est: $20- $40
$656 Bids
Mid-Century Boby mobile trolley - Joe Colombo for Bieffeplast c. 1970
Dec 03, 10:00 AM CET
Mid-Century Boby mobile trolley - Joe Colombo for Bieffeplast c. 1970
by Auktionshaus Wersching
Est: €0- €0
€1703 Bids
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DRINK TROLLEY, SMALL WINE TABLE AND DECO STYLE OCCASIONAL TABLE
Dec 01, 9:00 AM AEST
DRINK TROLLEY, SMALL WINE TABLE AND DECO STYLE OCCASIONAL TABLE
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD10- AUD40
AUD353 Bids
DANISH MID-CENTURY TEAK TRAY CART
Nov 29, 11:00 AM EST
DANISH MID-CENTURY TEAK TRAY CART
by Westport Auction
Est: $50- $1,000
$501 Bid
ARTHUR UMANOFF FOR WASHINGTON WOODCRAFT BAR CART. NO WHEELS.
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
ARTHUR UMANOFF FOR WASHINGTON WOODCRAFT BAR CART. NO WHEELS.
by Uniques & Antiques
Est: $120- $160
$801 Bid
MCM Teak Bar Server Rolling Cart Cabinet
Dec 03, 10:00 AM EST
MCM Teak Bar Server Rolling Cart Cabinet
by Atlanta Auction Gallery, ltd
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
ALDO TURA BAR CART
Nov 29, 9:00 AM PST
ALDO TURA BAR CART
by Abell Auction
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$7501 Bid
English Mahogany Serving Trolley, 19th Century
Dec 03, 9:30 AM EST
English Mahogany Serving Trolley, 19th Century
by Rafael Osona Auctions
Est: $1,000- $1,250
$8001 Bid
Edwardian Silver Plate and Glass Tea Cart
Dec 14, 10:00 AM EST
Edwardian Silver Plate and Glass Tea Cart
by Material Culture
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
Vintage Mid Century Modern Style Serving Cart
Dec 03, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage Mid Century Modern Style Serving Cart
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Vintage Wicker Tea Cart with Removable Serving Tray
Dec 03, 10:00 AM EST
Vintage Wicker Tea Cart with Removable Serving Tray
by Concept Art Gallery
Est: $100- $300
$700 Bids
Dinette
Dec 03, 11:00 AM CET
Dinette
by Auktionshaus Sieglin GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€200 Bids
A 19th Century Oak Trolley. The break D-ended tray top moulded with a central gulley and spurs eithe
Dec 03, 11:00 AM GMT
A 19th Century Oak Trolley. The break D-ended tray top moulded with a central gulley and spurs eithe
by Wilkinson's Auctioneers
Est: £300- £500
£2400 Bids
VINTAGE MID CENTURY FOLDING BAR CART
Jan 02, 11:00 AM EST
VINTAGE MID CENTURY FOLDING BAR CART
by Austin York LLC
Est: $120- $180
$300 Bids
DESIGNER SWEDISH DUX TEA TROLLEY
Dec 07, 10:00 AM GMT
DESIGNER SWEDISH DUX TEA TROLLEY
by Sheppards
Est: €300- €500
€1800 Bids
1970’s Tubular Chrome 2 Tier Bar Cart On Casters
Dec 21, 10:00 AM EST
1970’s Tubular Chrome 2 Tier Bar Cart On Casters
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $40- $200
$10 Bids
Steel and smoked glass trolley, Spain, 1970s
Dec 13, 5:00 PM CET
Steel and smoked glass trolley, Spain, 1970s
by Ansorena
Est: €180- €240
€1200 Bids
Mid-Century Walnut and Tubular Metal Bar Cart - Retro Kitsch
Dec 02, 5:00 PM EST
Mid-Century Walnut and Tubular Metal Bar Cart - Retro Kitsch
by Plain City Auction
Est: $5- $100
$20 Bids
JOHN WIDDICOMB BAR CART
Dec 08, 11:00 AM EST
JOHN WIDDICOMB BAR CART
by Capsule Gallery Auction
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
DESSERTE in gilded steel, on four feet with c
Dec 03, 2:00 PM CET
DESSERTE in gilded steel, on four feet with c
by FW Auction
Est: €40- €60
€400 Bids
Barwagen der 1950er/60er Jahre
Dec 03, 10:00 AM CET
Barwagen der 1950er/60er Jahre
by Auktionshaus Rotherbaum OHG
Est: €0- €0
€1400 Bids
Teakholz Barwagen der 1970er Jahre
Dec 03, 10:00 AM CET
Teakholz Barwagen der 1970er Jahre
by Auktionshaus Rotherbaum OHG
Est: €0- €0
€1000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Tea Cars & Bar Carts


Uniques & Antiques

Uniques & Antiques

Auktionshaus Rotherbaum OHG

Auktionshaus Rotherbaum OHG

Westport Auction

Westport Auction

Leski Auctions Pty Ltd

Leski Auctions Pty Ltd