Irish antique mirror, which can fetch up to £5,000 on eBay, has been made even more valuable by the recent popularity of the so-called ‘antique mirror tiles’.
“It is no longer a rare item,” said Noel McIlhenny, senior research associate at the Irish Institute of Art, University of Limerick, who was not involved in the study.
Mr McIlhernny said the mirrors are “much better” than the cheaper and less expensive tiles, which usually come in “grey, grey and red”.
“They are a great alternative to the tiles in the same condition,” he said.
“There are no big flaws, and you can see that they have been kept in the room in their original condition.”
The tiles are used to decorate the ceilings of Victorian-era homes, and can sell for as little as £5 on eBay.
Mr Murphy said it is easy to get a mirror tile on eBay and that “one is not going to be better than the other”.
But he warned that the “greatest” mirror tiles are likely to have been made in England in the past 200 years, when “all the modern tiles have been produced”.
The research also found that the most popular mirrors have “a slightly curved top” and “a bit of a tendency to move”.
It is not known how mirror tiles “are manufactured” but Mr Murphy said the tiles are “probably made in a factory”.
Mr Murrays research was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
In a statement, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said: “These are very good quality tiles, and will not deteriorate as they age.”
It added: “As a result, they can be put up for sale quickly and easily and are not considered as a rare and expensive item.”