Trays

Trays, or shallow platforms used to transport and hold objects, are made of many different materials, including gold, silver, bronze, sheet iron, wood, and molded pulp. Ranging from luxury options to disposable, one-use versions, trays serve a wide variety of purposes depending on the social context.

In Renaissance Italy, deschi da parto, or “birthing trays,” were popular gifts for expectant mothers. Following the birth of the baby, members of the household presented the mother with a tray filled with food, sweetmeats, and wine. Although birthing trays were luxury items often painted by professional artists, affordable options were available to families from different socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition to special events, such as childbirth, trays also functioned as essential elements used for everyday dining and entertaining. During the 19th and 20th centuries, butler’s trays, characterized by carrying handles and a portable stand with folding legs, were used to serve drinks and appetizers and also functioned as side tables. Manufacturers capitalized on the convenience of trays during the 1950s, when TV trays became especially popular, even ubiquitous, furniture pieces within the home.

The styles of trays available today are truly endless, with modern pieces often incorporating dividers, sculpted centerpieces, multimedia elements, and other unique and unexpected characteristics. Additionally, many trays are sold as part of a set accompanied by other furniture or ornamental pieces, enhancing the harmony of a room’s decorative scheme.


Quick Facts

  • On October 6, 2015, Bonham’s London sold a mother-of-pearl and black lacquer overlaid wood tray made in northern India during the 18th century for $1,470,000
  • On June 3, 2015, Christie’s Hong Kong sold an imperial polychrome lacquer quatrefoil tray made during Emperor Jiajin’s rule, 1522-1566, for $595,792
  • Beginning in 1897, Coca-Cola gifted serving trays illustrated with their logos to soda shops, which served the dual purpose of serving drinks and advertising the company’s products

Recommended Items at Auction

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PHILLIPS R. W. , Green Vases and Brass Tray, 1934., Oil on Canvas, 45x40cm
Oct 24, 10:00 AM AEDT
PHILLIPS R. W. , Green Vases and Brass Tray, 1934., Oil on Canvas, 45x40cm
by Davidson Auctions
Est: AUD150- AUD300
AUD2257 Bids
A Blue and white porcelain rectangular teapot tray painted with a phoenix among blooming peonies
Oct 17, 6:00 PM ICT
A Blue and white porcelain rectangular teapot tray painted with a phoenix among blooming peonies
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿8,000- ฿10,000
฿12,0004 Bids
BEER TRAY LEINENKUGELS CHIPPEWAS PRIDE
Dec 04, 9:00 AM CST
BEER TRAY LEINENKUGELS CHIPPEWAS PRIDE
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$1503 Bids
A Blue and white porcelain rectangular teapot tray painted with plum blossoms on a blue ground 
Oct 17, 6:00 PM ICT
A Blue and white porcelain rectangular teapot tray painted with plum blossoms on a blue ground 
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿20,000- ฿25,000
฿10,0003 Bids
BEER TRAY LEINENKUGELS CHIPPEWAS PRIDE
Dec 04, 9:00 AM CST
BEER TRAY LEINENKUGELS CHIPPEWAS PRIDE
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$1252 Bids
TRAY LOT OF ANTIQUE VICTORIAN GREETING CARDS, ETC.
Oct 22, 4:00 PM EDT
TRAY LOT OF ANTIQUE VICTORIAN GREETING CARDS, ETC.
by Diefenderfer Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$62 Bids
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UNMARKED GLASS TRAY PRESSED
Oct 19, 12:00 PM EDT
UNMARKED GLASS TRAY PRESSED
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$22 Bids
A miniture gilded silver niello stem tray  
Oct 17, 6:00 PM ICT
A miniture gilded silver niello stem tray  
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿10,000- ฿15,000
฿9,0002 Bids
Butterfly Wing-Mounted Tray, Plaster Bust, a Copper Covered Vessel and Two Baskets
Oct 19, 10:00 AM EDT
Butterfly Wing-Mounted Tray, Plaster Bust, a Copper Covered Vessel and Two Baskets
by Weschler's
Est: $10- $20
$102 Bids
GEORGIAN-STYLE SILVERPLATE BUTLER'S TRAY
Oct 24, 10:00 AM EDT
GEORGIAN-STYLE SILVERPLATE BUTLER'S TRAY
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $150- $300
$751 Bid
A brass rectangular tray and brass oval tray decorated with floral vine scrolls 
Oct 17, 6:00 PM ICT
A brass rectangular tray and brass oval tray decorated with floral vine scrolls 
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿5,000- ฿7,000
฿3,0001 Bid
Hermes Orange Tole Logo Tray
Oct 23, 9:00 AM EDT
Hermes Orange Tole Logo Tray
by Case Antiques, Inc. Auctions & Appraisals
Est: $500- $550
$2501 Bid
Antique Primitive Carrying Tray with Handle
Oct 24, 6:00 PM EDT
Antique Primitive Carrying Tray with Handle
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
A round Salish cedar root serving tray, 18 in. (38 cm) d.
Oct 27, 9:00 AM PDT
A round Salish cedar root serving tray, 18 in. (38 cm) d.
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $200- $300
$1401 Bid
DeLaval tip tray near mint
Oct 22, 9:00 AM EDT
DeLaval tip tray near mint
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $25- $200
$201 Bid
TRAY LOT OF VINTAGE 1940'S/1950'S VALENTINE CARDS
Oct 22, 4:00 PM EDT
TRAY LOT OF VINTAGE 1940'S/1950'S VALENTINE CARDS
by Diefenderfer Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Tiffany Studios, New York Grapevine Letter Holder and (2) Pen Trays
Nov 05, 12:00 PM EDT
Tiffany Studios, New York Grapevine Letter Holder and (2) Pen Trays
by Cottone Auctions
Est: $150- $250
$701 Bid
TRAY LOT OF VINTAGE MARBLES
Oct 22, 4:00 PM EDT
TRAY LOT OF VINTAGE MARBLES
by Diefenderfer Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Brent Collinsworth Folk Art "Chew Black Bass Navy" Serving Tray
Oct 27, 11:00 AM EDT
Brent Collinsworth Folk Art "Chew Black Bass Navy" Serving Tray
by Caza Sikes
Est: $50- $100
$201 Bid
Lenox Serving Tray
Oct 21, 10:00 AM EDT
Lenox Serving Tray
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$11 Bid
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2 METAL SERVING TRAYS
Oct 25, 12:00 PM EDT
2 METAL SERVING TRAYS
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$11 Bid
Serving Tray, Lunch Box & Towel
Oct 21, 10:00 AM CDT
Serving Tray, Lunch Box & Towel
by McCurley Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$11 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Trays


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Diefenderfer Auction Company

Diefenderfer Auction Company

Historia Auktionshaus

Historia Auktionshaus