Looking at Butlers Trays

18th November 2023

Butlers trays regularly come into the Auction Rooms for sale. Learn more about them here.

The table was believed to have been developed and used by the Egyptians back in 2500BC using wood and alabaster and were little more than platforms to keep objects off the floor. Over the centuries, tables have developed into an array of types and forms as seen in the auction rooms.

Butler’s trays have been in use since the 1700s when it was introduced. The design is the ultimate portable furniture comprising of either a low, fixed stand or an x frame folding stand plus a sturdy tray often with D-shaped flaps that fold down to create a small table.

These trays were developed for use by butlers in grand houses to deliver drinks and food up from the kitchen. They were carefully designed with some trays just having carrying handles or holes in the long sides of the trays to allow trays to be carried lengthways through narrow doors . They come in different styles with a range of edges, woods and types of leg and they are still manufactured and are available today in well know flat pack furniture stores! You can’t beat an original however and many types regularly pass through our auction rooms.

Trays can range widely in price at auction depending on quality, condition and appeal. Older Georgian examples may be worth over £1000 whilst 19th century and more modern examples may be purchased from £50 upwards.

So during these winter months, when may be you are looking to enjoy a little tipple and some warm savouries, ensure that you have a butler’s tray at hand.

Normal opening hours

Monday - Friday
10am - 5pm
Valuation Days
Monday - Thursday
10.00am - 3.00pm or home visits by appointment
Sunday following a Saturday sale
9.00am - 12.00pm

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