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Couroc mid-century barware as seen on Mad Men

Vintage Couroc trays are highly collectible.
Vintage Couroc trays are highly collectible.

Couroc trays and bar-ware are a collector’s item and have recently gained popularity by appearing as a prop in the popular TV show, “Mad Men.” The Couroc Company, founded in Monterey California in 1948, produced a variety of serving trays, ashtrays, trinket boxes, and glassware. The company dissolved in the early 1990s, so these items have not been made in almost 25 years. Couroc trays are recognizable because of the sleek black background and interesting gold, coral, and turquoise inlaid designs. Collectors love Couroc items because of their high quality, beauty, elegance, and style.

Every Couroc item has a gold sticker on the back that reads,
“Unique Couroc products are cherished gifts because of their great variety and beauty in design. Hand inlaid by master craftsmen, shells, coins, woods and metals are fused into Couroc's famous satin black material which is impervious to alcohol, boiling water, and cigarette burns.”

Items other than glassware are made of a black plastic-like material and are relatively lightweight. The designs range from animals (owls being very popular), trees, flowers, coins, architecture, tribal art, ocean life, mythological creatures, and crazy kitschy whimsical designs like frogs dancing or poodles having lunch at a French café. Some of the designs have a Danish flair or may simply have catchwords like “drink” or “party” in chunky block letters.

Couroc trays in good used condition can sell for over $150 on eBay depending on size, condition, and design. The average price is around $50. eBay shows over 550 Couroc trays in used condition sold in the last 90 days. Couroc collectors abound as there are quite a few blogs dedicated to Couroc tray and glassware collections. These pieces are iconic 2-dimensional art and there are many floating around just about to surface at estate sales, yard sales, and flea markets.