Metal Detectorist Finds a Gold Hatpin That May Have Belonged to Edward IV

Duke's Auctioneers
Duke's Auctioneers

Hatpins may have fallen out of fashion, but these accessories were once quite popular among medieval kings. As Smithsonian reports, one particular gold hatpin that may have belonged to King Edward IV of England is hitting the auction block next week and could sell for upwards of $13,000.

And it was discovered entirely by chance. A woman was scanning a field near Horncastle, Lincolnshire with her metal detector in 2013 when she stumbled across this lucky find. The artifact has since been acquired by Duke’s Auctioneers in Dorchester, which plans to sell the pin as part of its Spring Fine Art sale on April 26.

Duke's Auctioneers

It’s believed that the hatpin belonged to Edward IV, whose two reigns lasted from 1461-1470 and 1471-1483, or a member of his royal court because it features the Sun-shaped motif he often used. This symbol stems from Edward’s observation of a meteorological phenomenon called a parhelion, or “Sun dog,” which makes it seem as if there are three Suns in the sky. Prior to being crowned king, Edward, then the Duke of York, witnessed this rare event in 1461 while fighting with the House of Lancaster in the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross.

“Edward, the Earl of March, told his men this was a sign from God representing the Holy Trinity and was proof that God would lead them to victory,” Duke’s writes in its description of the pin. “The Yorkists were victorious that day and Edward was proclaimed king a month later, after which he adopted the ‘Sunne in Splendour’ as his personal emblem.”

At the center of the sun is an amethyst—a jewel that was believed to protect the wearer in battle in medieval times. The color purple is also associated with royalty.

There’s also evidence that Edward IV and at least one other king wore hatpins during their reigns. A rendering of Edward IV from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection shows the king wearing the accessory, as does the below painting of a young Henry VII. In both cases, the hatpins are adorned with dangling strands of pearls.

A similar hatpin worn by a young Henry VIIDuke's Auctioneers

[h/t Smithsonian]

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar


Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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Visit Any National Park for Free on September 26—or Volunteer to Help Maintain Them

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
Nick Hanauer/iStock via Getty Images

Temperatures are quickly cooling down, and you might be inclined to take advantage of the last few long, sunny days with a weekend visit to the great outdoors. This Saturday, September 26, you can bask in the open air of any national park for free, as part of National Public Lands Day.

According to the National Park Service, the holiday has been held on the fourth Saturday of every September since 1994, and it’s also the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort. It’s up to you whether you’d like to partake in the service side or simply go for a stroll. Opportunities for volunteering include tree-planting, park cleanups, and more; you can find events near you here. There are also a number of virtual events you can tune into, which range from wildlife livestreams and virtual tours to how-to webinars (a Virginia State Parks ranger, for example, will teach you how to make a bee hotel).

There are more than 400 areas run by the National Park Service across the U.S., and many of them aren’t parks in the traditional sense of the word; the Statue of Liberty, Alcatraz Island, and countless other monuments and historical sites are also run by the NPS. Wondering if there might be one closer than you thought? Explore parks in your area on this interactive map.

If you do decide to celebrate National Public Lands Day on public lands, you should contact the park—or check its website—before you head there so you know of any coronavirus-related protocols they've put in place. And for those of you who can’t take advantage of the free admission on September 26, the National Park Service will also waive all entrance fees for Veterans Day on November 11.