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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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Pair of printers trays (42 x 83cm)
Oct 06, 11:00 AM AEDT
Pair of printers trays (42 x 83cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD60- AUD80
AUD503 Bids
Vintage Fairy Soap The Oval Cake Tray
Oct 05, 4:30 PM CDT
Vintage Fairy Soap The Oval Cake Tray
by McCurley Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$53 Bids
A silver gilt and a gold alloy tray decorated with floral vine scrolls
Oct 08, 12:30 PM ICT
A silver gilt and a gold alloy tray decorated with floral vine scrolls
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿80,000- ฿100,000
฿50,0001 Bid
EGYPTIAN SERVING TRAY VINTAGE ANTIQUE COLLECTIBLE
Oct 17, 1:00 PM CDT
EGYPTIAN SERVING TRAY VINTAGE ANTIQUE COLLECTIBLE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Two Art Nouveau Vanity Items - Lidded Ring Box and Tray
Oct 21, 6:00 PM EDT
Two Art Nouveau Vanity Items - Lidded Ring Box and Tray
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $30- $60
$101 Bid
Tole-Painted Octagonal Tray on Stand
Oct 08, 10:00 AM EDT
Tole-Painted Octagonal Tray on Stand
by Kaminski Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
Tray With Goldtone Rim
Oct 06, 10:00 AM EDT
Tray With Goldtone Rim
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$11 Bid
Jugendstil Likörtablett / An Art Nouveau liqueur tray, Kayserzinn, Krefeld, um 1900
Oct 08, 9:00 AM CEST
Jugendstil Likörtablett / An Art Nouveau liqueur tray, Kayserzinn, Krefeld, um 1900
by Auktionshaus Schwab
Est: €30- €60
€301 Bid
Vintage Servingware, Lobster Tray, Monkey Bread
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage Servingware, Lobster Tray, Monkey Bread
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Five metal trays, 20th century
Oct 06, 2:00 PM CEST
Five metal trays, 20th century
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €0- €0
€101 Bid
A Graduated Set of Four Venetian Papier Mache Trays
Oct 16, 11:00 AM AEDT
A Graduated Set of Four Venetian Papier Mache Trays
by Theodore Bruce
Est: AUD60- AUD120
AUD301 Bid
ORTHOCERAS TRAY ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
Nov 14, 1:00 PM CST
ORTHOCERAS TRAY ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$1000 Bids
ORTHOCERAS TRAY ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
Nov 14, 1:00 PM CST
ORTHOCERAS TRAY ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$1000 Bids
ORTHOCERAS TRAY ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
Jan 16, 1:00 PM CST
ORTHOCERAS TRAY ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$1000 Bids
ORTHOCERAS TRAY ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
Nov 28, 1:00 PM CST
ORTHOCERAS TRAY ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$1000 Bids
ORTHOCERAS TRAY ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
Nov 28, 1:00 PM CST
ORTHOCERAS TRAY ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$1000 Bids
Mugaritz H. Large tray
Oct 06, 2:00 PM CEST
Mugaritz H. Large tray
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €0- €0
€300 Bids
Vintage Nasco Handpainted Tole Tray
Oct 08, 2:00 PM EDT
Vintage Nasco Handpainted Tole Tray
by Connoisseur Online
Est: $50- $100
$400 Bids
ORTHOCERAS TRAY ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
Jan 16, 1:00 PM CST
ORTHOCERAS TRAY ROCK STONE LAPIDARY SPECIMEN
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$1000 Bids
Antiqued Cast Metal Wall Salver Tray Decor
Oct 19, 10:00 AM EDT
Antiqued Cast Metal Wall Salver Tray Decor
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $50- $100
$10 Bids
Signed Sleeping Child Bronze Tray
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
Signed Sleeping Child Bronze Tray
by Connoisseur Online
Est: $350- $600
$3000 Bids
Jugendstil Tablett / An Art Nouveau tray, Wächtersbach, Kunstabteilung Christian Neureuther, um 1905
Oct 08, 9:00 AM CEST
Jugendstil Tablett / An Art Nouveau tray, Wächtersbach, Kunstabteilung Christian Neureuther, um 1905
by Auktionshaus Schwab
Est: €180- €360
€1800 Bids
Early 20thc Art Nouveau Brass Nymph Framed Tray
Nov 05, 2:00 PM EDT
Early 20thc Art Nouveau Brass Nymph Framed Tray
by Connoisseur Online
Est: $100- $200
$800 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Trays


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Connoisseur Online

Connoisseur Online