Ultra rare (probably one-of-a-kind), wonderful large rectangular serving tray with tooled poppy flower decoration. I don't have the exact measurements, but I believe it's about 12 inches long.

Probably circa 1912, when poppy motif items like the familiar poppy desk pieces started appearing in The FRA advertisements. Large early mark in lower right corner. Finish was probably cleaned but who cares.

If I had to guess, Victor Toothaker may have done this as a design study, but we'll probably never know for sure.

Value: sold around $7,500 on ebay early 2008. I don't ever expect to see another for sale.


Rare large tray by Karl Kipp, signed KK, about 20 inches wide with a relief decoration around the rim. This tray is pictured in Kipp's 1914 catalog but this is the only one I'm aware of.

Click here for large pic

Value: $2000+. Estimated, no auction results

Exceptionally rare and very desirable Italian Polychrome circular tray/plate. I believe this plate is about 7 inches in diameter. Note the wonderful workmanship, color, and the "two dot" mark attributed to Walter Jennings.

Value: Sold for around $900 if I recall correctly on eBay 5/02.

click here and here for more closeups of the workmanship.

Photo used by permission


Rare compote with circular base and applied brass decorations. According to my 1924 catalog, this piece features the rare "Verde Green Finish, reminiscent of age-old bronzes sought after and beloved by antiquaries". (They just don't write ad copy like they used to!) Pieces of this design have been attributed to the period after 1920 and were made for only a short time.

Value: Estimated at $1000+, but no reliable auction history.

click here for a closeup of the decoration.

This truly rare compote showed up on ebay summer 2008 and my impression was "oh well, a refinished Etruscan compote". But I didn't look close enough! This brown finish is 100% original, and in spectacular mint condition, making it both rare and pristine. And it snuck by at around $1000 - a nice buy.

Rare tray by Walter Jennings, about seven inches wide with a band of tooled quartrefoils and linework around the rim. Signed WJ and also in script "Handmade by Walter U. Jennings". Cleaned, perhaps original that way. Photos David Rago Auctions.

Click here for large pic

Value: sold for $2100 plus premium Rago 9/04..

Karl Kipp 10 inch round tray with tooled designs. Compare the design to the similar Roycroft tray above -- 3 triangular flowers versus 5 square ones. This example has a cleaned finish. All Kipp stuff is relatively rare, so this is a very desirable tray even with the cleaning.

Value $400-500 cleaned; $500-700 original finish. Auction prices: This tray sold 1/02 at Rago's for $460; An odd one with the late Roycroft mark sold for $730 ebay 1/05.

click here for a big pic.

Karl Kipp 7 inch round tray with tooled designs. Same as above but this is the 7 inch version (with three flowers instead of five). This is the only one I've seen.

Value: Sold $511 9/08 ebay.

click here for a big pic.

click here for a closeup pic.

Round tray with 3 tooled quatrefoil designs.

Value $350-500. Auction prices: This tray sold 11/99 on ebay for $405; brown vg cond; $401 4/00 ebay; $497 repatinated brown 12/00 eBay; $270 slightly worn brass 11/01; $308 brass fair cond. ebay 3/03; $450 brass vg cond. 3/03 ebay; $360 brown vg cond ebay 7/03; $230 cleaned ebay 10/03; $283 worn brown ebay 11/03; $862 vg brown ebay 12/03; $467 badly worn brown 2/05.

click here for a closeup of the tooling.

Big round tray with handles. Approximately 18 inches across. Cleaned finish has darkened a bit over time.

Value $300-400 (cleaned). Latest auction prices: $431 vg brown ebay 10/03 (a low price), $313 good brown, small dent ebay 10/03 (another low price); $676 gd. cond. ebay 3/04; $566 cleaned ebay 2/05.

Big round tray with handles. Measures 18 inches wide including handles. Note that this tray is a "Sheffield" finish meaning that it's silver plate, NOT the silver wash that shows up on later trays. Sheffield pieces were generally made early (pre-1920-ish) and typically have an early mark and fine quality workmanship.
Personally, I think that Sheffield pieces are some of the great Roycroft bargains out there. If you like the look of silver, you can get great early pieces like this one for half the price of the same form in Aurora Brown.

Value $300-500. Sold for $301 ebay 3/03.

Very rare large serving tray from the Grove Park Inn.

I don't know the exact measurements, but it's big. These were used in the dining room at the Grove Park Inn, and if you visit the Inn today you can still see and touch the enormous sideboards that this tray once sat on. This can be dated to around 1912 since that's when Roycroft received the commission to provide copperwork for the Inn. Note the inventory number next to the mark. The original finish is gone since it was probably cleaned hundreds of times while still in use, but so what.

Value: I have no idea. They never come up at auction.

Early and very very rare pin tray. About 6.5 by 4 inches. The earliest art copper made by Roycroft circa 1906-1908. It took me 7 years to find one of these. See the "Desk Items" section for the matching letter opener. Unhammered but heavy, it is more similar to the hardware made for early Roycroft furniture than to the more familiar Roycroft art metal made after 1909 (actually appears in the 1906 Roycroft Furniture catalogue). Even more special because this one is signed in each corner (with the "preliminary" or "early early" mark). They were also made with a single mark in the middle top of the tray. It's not the most attractive item, but historically very important, and therefore a "serious collector piece".

Value: very limited auction history. The one pictured in the second link below sold ebay 5/05 for $1052. Another sold Rago $1200 3/08 (including another pen tray). Note finish condition has no effect on value for these.

click here for a big pic.

click here for a big pic of another example.

Oval tray with handles and tooled designs. About 22 inches including handles. This is a nice middle period design which sells in a wide range based on condition. In excellent brown the value would be $500-$700. Brass and/or significant wear would be $300-500.

Really rare oval tray variant made at Karl Kipp's Tookay Shop. The only one I've seen. This must date to pre-1915, which would make it the earliest incarnation of the oval handled tray form. Check the close-up pics for the unusual decoration. Finish is silver.

Value -- no auction record. It showed up on ebay in 2008 but vanished without a hammer price.

Serving tray with handles. Nice original Aurora Brown finish.

Value $350-450. Auction prices: $455 vg cond, brown ebay 11/03.

Large rectangular tray with tooled designs. About 9 inches by 13 inches. Nice original Aurora Brown finish.

Value $400-600.

click here for a closeup of the wonderful tooling.

Oval tray with tooled designs. About 7 inches long. This tray makes a great case study on values. It shows what happens when a piece has everything going for it: really attractive rare design with great proportions, super quality workmanship, and excellent condition Aurora Brown finish.

Value $350-600. Auction history: this tray sold 4/00 on ebay for $578 (that may seem like a lot for such a small tray, but it has no excuses, and if you're only going to have one small tray in a collection, this would be a great candidate); $232 cleaned ebay 3/05.

click here for a closeup of the tooling.

Oval tray with tooled designs. Note the comparatively simpler tooling on this tray versus the one above. About 7 inches long. Nice Aurora Brown finish with slight wear in the center.

Value $300-400.

Rare Walter Jennings tray with scallop design edge. About 9.5 inches wide. Signed with the interlocking "WJ" mark and also in faint script "Hand-Made Walter U Jennings".

Big pic

Value: due to the rapidly escalating value of anything Jennings, estmated at $400-500

Rare trays with raised bumps. These appear in the early catalogs (circa 1910-1915), and are quite desirable to collectors today. The small one is about 4.75" in diameter, and the big one is about twice that size.

Values: for the big one $350-450; the small one $150-200. Latest auction prices: The small one pictured (top) sold $194 ebay 11/02; the small & large pictured (bottom) sold as a pair for $762 ebay 8/02 (nice to get a matching set I would say!); big one $335 ebay vg cond 12/05.

Set of 5 nut trays (with a nut spoon). Trays are about 5.75" in diameter. This probably represents part of an early nut set -- the original set would have included a large nut bowl, one more tray, and 6 nut picks. Nevertheless, finding this much of the set still together is unusual, and the condition of these appears excellent.

Value: sold ebay early 2000 for $710.

Early round tray. Eight inches in diameter. These usually show up in some kind of cleaned condition. The original finishes were early brown or a heat patina, so leaving a cleaned one outside for a while will pretty much bring that color back. I think the best ones have the mark on the front like this one, but they're somtimes signed on the back.

Value $150-200. This one sold for $181 3/05 ebay.

Big pic

Rare 6.5 inch wide octagonal tray with tooled decoration surrounding a stippled field. Original blue brass fiinish in excellent condition. This is the only example I have ever seen, and I have never seen a catalog reference to this form. Has the early mark.

Bigger pic

Value: $225-325. The tray pictured sold 1/07 on ebay for $318.

Square card tray with tooled designs. Original Aurora Brown finish in excellent condition.

Value $200-300. The tray pictured sold 12/99 on ebay for $296; $231 vg early brown finish ebay 10/03.

Hexagonal tray with handles. 12 inches in diameter. Finish is in only fair condition. The octagonal trays are all a little "later" in Roycroft's production (1920s-1930s), and the weight of the copper and overall quality are generally not as robust as in the large early round trays.

Big pic

Value $250-350. This tray sold 3/05 ebay for $372.

Hexagonal tray with handles. 17 inches from handle to handle. Original silver finish in average condition -- I think silver finishes look terrible when they're worn this much.

Value $175-250. This tray sold 9/00 ebay for $250. It would probably be worth more with a new brown finish.

Round card tray with tooled designs. Six inches in diameter. Original Aurora Brown finish in good condition.

Value $200-300.

Round card tray with tooled designs. Six inches in diameter. Original Aurora Brown finish in excellent condition.

Value $200-300. Sold $235 3/03 ebay.

Round card tray with tooled leaf designs. Roycroft made at least six different variations of the six inch card tray. Here's one of the more unusual ones with a band of little leaf designs. Original Aurora Brown finish with a bit of wear.

Big pic showing details .

Value $200-300. Latest auction price $222 worn cond. 8/00 ebay; $305 vg cond. ebay 1/07.

Compote 4 3/4 tall by 5 3/4 wide. Silver wash. Nice design, this would be a good piece to find with an excellent brown finish. Unfortunately, they seem to show up most often in brass or silver (typically worn).

Value $175-225 in this finish and condition. Latest auction prices this piece sold for $200 10/03 ebay.