Antiques Roadshow expert jokingly issues warning after valuation of nightmare item

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During an episode of Antiques Roadshow from earlier this year, Fiona Bruce took viewers to Bodnant Garden in North Wales where the experts valued some of the relics brought in by guests. The items included a pair of unique Wedgewood tigers, a carved Russian chair and a rare silver box. However, it was one item in particular that piqued the interest of expert Lars Tharp.

“One person’s nightmare is another person’s dream,” Lars began. “Which do you fall into?”

The guest replied: “It’s my absolute dream. I love it.”

“Normally people don’t like being in the presence of mice or in this case, rats,” the expert said with surprise.

“I just think it’s so beautifully made,” the guest told him. “And so intricate. I mean, I’ve had it since I was a young child.”

She continued: “I used to sit in my grandmother’s house and just hold it.”

Speaking about the item’s history and where the item came from, Lars explained: “This is a Japanese wood box.

“Now, rats in China and in Japan are harbingers of good fortune, can you think why?”

As the guest laughed and shook her head, Lars explained: “It’s a curious association.”

“In years of good harvest,” he added. “There are lots and lots of rats.

“They are an indicator of something that has gone right. It is a wonderful piece of carving.

“The idea is that this is modelled as a string-drawn bag bursting at the sides.

“So not only do we have rats emerging over the top, but we have rats peeping out, having eaten their way through the wall of this bag.”

“And, this is the great thing,” the expert said excitedly. “Inside the lid, here they are again.

“The thing that’s unusual for me is that it’s sort of scooped.”

Lars proceeded to ask the guest what the item was used for, as she replied: “It was always empty until I got it.”

She went on to add that she puts little things she might lose inside it.


After inspecting the item further, Lars predicted it could have been dated back to the 1900s.

As he praised the “gorgeous” item, Lars left the guest in shock when he gave it a valuation of £1,000.

“You’re joking?” the guest gasped. “£1,000, really?”

Despite loving the item, Lars went on to jokingly issue a warning to the guest.

“I see it as a really lovely object,” he praised as he warned: “But, just don’t let the rats get at it.”

Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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