Antiques Roadshow expert sympathises with bonkers guest after huge valuation

Guest gets valuation for vintage eye baths

Antiques Roadshow expert Andy McConnell found himself sympathising with a “bonkers” collector of Victorian eye baths admitting that he has a few himself.

In a classic episode, Fiona Bruce took viewers to Sefton Park in Liverpool when Andy was presented with a very impressive and colourful collection.

Explaining what they were Andy said: “The eye bath…cleansed the eye when you got a bit of grit in it.

“You got one and you put salty water… warm salty water in it and you held it up to your eye.”

“And I remember hating doing this when mum used to do it,” he intimated. “For me [I thought] she’s trying to drown me.”

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Evaluating the antique glass baths he said conspiratorially, “I’ve got a few myself, so I do sympathise entirely with you as a sort of bonkers collector.”

The owner of the items revealed that he had been collecting them for around 10 to 15 years after his mother purchased his first one in a charity shop as a gift for him.

“This particular one, my mother bought me,” he said as Andy admired the colour of it.

“Probably 15 years ago in a charity shop, she paid 50p for it. It was so nice, I started collecting a few more.”

“So what is the mental process you go through when deciding to buy one or not, other than the fact you are clearly bonkers,” Andy enquired.

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Laughing, the guest acknowledged, “that does play a big part,” before explaining it must be free-blown glass.

When he revealed that the earliest one he had was pre-1800s, Andy looked shocked. He stated: “God they’re rare. Pre-1800 ones are very rare. They [eye baths] really are a Victorian innovation really.”

Turning his attention to the valuation, the guest explained he usually paid between £30 and £35 for his beloved eye baths.

“Fifty quid is the price of a good antique one,” the expert exclaimed before adding: “I’ve counted them out there are forty-two here so £2,100 (for the entire collection).”

Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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