What we might call a bar cart began as Victorian England’s tea trolley

Whatever you call it and however you use it, this birch wood cart with white enameled wheels attracted $2,650 at auction.

Teatime comes to modern times. Scandinavian modern design gives an Artek tea trolley a sleek, stylish look.

Teatime comes to modern times. Scandinavian modern design gives an Artek tea trolley a sleek, stylish look.

It’s probably no surprise that the tea trolley emerged in Victorian England. Just the words “tea trolley” can conjure up an image of a delicate cart laden with floral china and shining silver plate (probably resting on crocheted lace doilies), pushed by a primly uniformed servant into an ornately furnished room where aristocratic women perch on uncomfortably carved mahogany chairs.

Like many upper-class English fashions, the tea trolley spread to the United States, where it received a new spin in the 20th century: With Prohibition ending in the 1930s, the tea trolley was repurposed as the bar cart or cocktail cart. This was also when the style we now call mid-century modern emerged. Scandinavian design was particularly popular, with clean lines, simple shapes and light woods.

This cart, made of birch with white enameled wheels, was designed in 1948 by Alvar and Aino Aalto, the Finnish husband-and-wife team that co-founded the furniture company Artek. An Eldred’s auction described it as a “tea trolley” rather than a cart. The old-fashioned name didn’t decrease its appeal, as it sold at the auction for $2,650.

Q: I was given two glass shoes before my grandmother passed away in 1983. One is a tall boot in dark green, one is a shorter boot in opaque yellow. The green one says, “Made in Taiwan.” Do they have any value other than sentimental?

A: Glass shoes have been made since the 17th century. The earliest examples were made as drinking vessels. By the 19th century, various glass containers like salt cellars, toothpick holders, finger bowls, perfume bottles or inkwells were made in the shape of shoes. They were often collected or sold as souvenirs. The fashion continued into the early to mid-20th century. Some well-known American glass companies like Fenton made shoes in various colors and patterns. After World War II, the United States was importing inexpensive decorative glassware made in other countries, including Taiwan. Some reproductions of older glassware are made in Taiwan. Your glass shoe marked “Taiwan” is probably one of these reproductions. The main value of your glass shoes is most likely sentimental.

Q: I have a lot of first-edition Beanie Babies and Bears. I’m wondering if I can get in contact with someone to help me price and sell them.

A: The Beanie Babies fad exploded in the 1990s, and a resale market appeared almost immediately. While it hasn’t reached the heights of the original craze, the resale market is still active, especially with 1990s nostalgia on the rise and increasing in the toys of the decade. There are several online resources for Beanie Baby collectors to research and evaluate their toys. Try tycollector.com, beaniebabiespriceguide.com or beaniepedia.com. Check the tags on each toy; both the cloth tag sewn to the toy (collectors call it the “tush tag”) and the heart-shaped paper swing tag. They will tell you the edition, material, location made, and other information that can affect the price. If a Beanie Baby is an early or limited edition, stuffed with PVC pellets instead of PE pellets, or made in Indonesia instead of China, it is usually worth more. Spelling errors, misprints and other variations on the tag can also increase the value. Online, eBay is an extremely popular place to sell Beanie Babies but be careful: You will see them listed with prices in the thousands. Remember: This is only the asking price; it does not mean that a buyer will pay that much. For more accurate values on eBay, look up Sold listings under Advanced Search. You can also search websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for Beanie Babies collector clubs. If you want to sell your collection at an auction, look for auction houses that specialize in toys, collectibles, estate sales and pop culture.

Q: I have an antique Pullman black leather recliner and ottoman. Can you help me find a value?

A: The Pullman Couch Company was founded in 1906 in Chicago. They are best known for their Davenport bed or sofa that could be converted to a bed. They also made overstuffed furniture. Pullman became the Schnadig Corporation in 1954. Upholstered reclining chairs were made in the United States by the 1930s. We have seen vintage leather recliner and ottoman sets sell for about $300 to $600. A maker’s label always increases the value of a piece of vintage furniture.

TIP: Dust leather furniture with a dry cloth and vacuum in crevices and edges. Use a leather conditioner about once a year. If there is spill, wipe up the liquid with a cloth or sponge, wipe with lukewarm water and let it air dry. Do not use soap or soak the stain.

On the block

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

Toy, wagon, milk, plywood, metal wheels, red paint, pull handle, Flottweg, 12 by 19 by 25½ inches, $40.

Box, violin case, pine, painted, red and yellow, vinegar sponge decoration, yellow stenciled initials, square nail construction, mid-19th century, 30 by 5 inches, $110.

Roseville, Pine Cone, vase, blue, flared neck, bowl shape base, two handles, branch shape, 12½ inches, $185.

Advertising, mirror, Dreikorn’s Bread, Reflecting Good Taste, orange and yellow script lettering, orange bread loaf graphic, thermometer, barometer, frame, 23 by 15 inches, $220.

Toy, horse, rocking, wood, painted, white, black base, leather saddle, Victorian, 31 by 55½ by 12 inches, $320.

Furniture, chair, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Model 222, steel frame, painted black, arched back, three slats, plank seat, leather cushion, marked, France, 32½ by 18 inches, pair, $450.

Lamp, hurricane, baluster shape shade, tole base, figural, leafy vines, grass, scalloped foot, felt base, 14½ inches, pair, $770.

Textile, Navajo, trading post, gray ground, cream and black motifs, serrated diamonds, checkerboards, red border, corner tassels, early 1900s, 74½ by 55 inches, $800.

Fireplace, tool set, brass, anchor and rope finial, rope turned support, three hook and eye handles, poker, tongs, shovel, square base, 35¾ inches, $830.

Steuben, jar, amethyst, conical lid, flat-rayed finial, tapered base, heavy cut, three cut bands, knop standard, round foot, rayed underside, signed, circa 1932, 16 inches, $2,750.

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