An amateur metal detectorist has unearthed a gold hat pin worth £15,000 that may have belonged to King Edward IV, who reigned during the 15th century.
When 42-year-old Lisa Grace was looking through a recently-plowed field in Lincolnshire, she came across the medieval gem, which is in immaculate shape.
As Edward IV and his circle wore remarkably identical pieces during his two reigns as King from 1460 until his death in 1483, it is thought the pin is connected to royalty.
The diamond is thought to have been created in the late 15th century and is shaped like a sun in splendor, Edward IV’s personal emblem.
They speculate that the object might have been misplaced during combat. Power struggles and confrontations abounded during his first term, with many of them occurring nearby.
At the centre of the piece is a purple amethyst stone, another of the King’s favourites, leading some specialists to speculate that it may have been lost by Edward IV himself.
The jewel shown on Edward IV’s hat in a portrait preserved at The Museum Calvet in Avignon, France, is strikingly similar to the pin.
Ms Grace said she was stunned when she found it a few inches below the ground.
“When I found it the jewel wasn’t far under the ground at all as the field had recently been ploughed,” she said.
The specialists say they have been experiencing early interest from both collectors and museums and are expecting offers between £10,000 and £15,000.
Mr Schwinge from Duke’s, said: “A well-known painting of Edward IV from the Musee Calvet features a jewel that is quite similar to the one in the present piece.
He added that it might have belonged to a courtier as well.
“The fact is we shall never know but it clearly belonged to someone of high status in the upper echelons of medieval society.”
Ms Grace said: “To be honest my initial reaction was one of ”what the hell is this?” – I didn’t have any idea.
“It was only later when I phoned some friends and did some research that I found out how special it was.
“The possibility that it could have belonged to royalty is amazing and even if it didn’t, it would have belonged to someone of high status.”
Ms Grace has now listed the pin for sale and it is to go under the hammer at Duke’s Auctioneers of Dorchester, Dorset.