Vintage picnic sets

Brexton picnic set, 1970s
Brexton picnic set. The china is 'Fiesta' by Barker Bros and that pattern dates from the 1950s, but the plastic flasks date this set to the late 1970s.

Vintage picnic sets are popular with owners of classic and vintage cars. It is great to have a picnic set of the same vintage as the car. Sets made from the early 1900s to the 1970s are all of interest to collectors.

Picnic sets became popular with early motorists. They were made for most of the twentieth century. The classic wicker basket-type was joined by suitcase-type picnic sets in the interwar years.

The most elaborate sets were known as luncheon baskets.

There was a special type of picnic basket called a 'Tea Basket'. It contained a tea pot and spirit burner. Army & Navy Stores sold tea baskets or tea cases from the Edwardian era to the 1930s. In 1936 they sold two types for two or four people in a wicker case. There was a nickel plated tea pot and a spirit burner. The case also contained cups, knives and a bottle for milk. These are very valuable today and can sell for £400 to £500.

Picnic sets followed contemporary fashion in the style of the case and the china used. Some 1930s' sets made by Coracle used Bandalasta wear plastic plates, cups and saucers. Look out for retro style china in 1950s' and 1960s' sets.

Most sets also had a flask or two, salt and pepper pots and a box for sandwiches. Some of the better ones had a variety of jars for milk, cream and jam.

Coracle and Brexton are the makers to look out for. Other makers were Sirram and Stadium.

Value is determined by condition, age and how elaborate the set is. As a general guide, vintage wicker sets are worth more. Sets need to be complete with original flasks, china and cutlery. Incomplete sets with broken or missing parts are worth significantly less.

To date the set look at the style of the china as well as the Thermos flasks. Plastic Thermos flasks were not common until the 1970s. Although flasks by other makers may have been plastic.

Buy a vintage picnic set

There is always a good selection of original vintage picnic sets on eBay. This is my pick:

vintage brexton picnic set

£65

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history
Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history