bring coals to Newcastle

bring coals to Newcastle

To do something redundant, frivolous, or unnecessary. Newcastle was once a major coal supplier. We definitely don't need to bring any toys when we go over their house—they have so many that bringing more would be like bringing coals to Newcastle. I thought a bottle of wine would be a nice gift, but when I saw their liquor cabinet I could tell that I had brought coals to Newcastle.
See also: bring, coal, Newcastle, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

coals to Newcastle, to carry/bring

To do something that is unnecessary or superfluous. The Newcastle referred to is the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a seaport in northeastern England that was given a charter to mine coal by Henry III in 1239 and became a major coal center. By the seventeenth century this metaphor for bringing an unneeded thing was current, and it remained so in all English-speaking countries. There were (and are) equivalents in numerous languages. In French it is to carry water to a river.
See also: bring, carry, coal, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
References in periodicals archive ?
All Northerners know the traditional saying which pokes fun at people who bring coals to Newcastle.