Masonic Philately (Masonry On Postage Stamps) PDF

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Masonic Philately(Masonry on Postage Stamps)By definition, philately is the in-depth research and study of postage stamps. By example, it ismaking the observation that in a pile of postage stamps that all appear to be the same type; closerexamination will reveal different kinds of paper, different watermarks embedded in the paper,different cancellations, variations in color shades, or a different gauge of perforations around theedge of the stamps. It follows that Masonic Philately involves any Masonic related image orevent that is celebrated by the issuance of that particular stamp.It was on the 6th May 1840, that the first adhesive backed postage stamp in the world was issuedin Great Britain. At first glance there is no overt Masonic tie to this stamp, but upon some indepth research we find that it was in fact printed by an engraver named Jacob Perkins, who wasalso an American Freemason.The Penny Black stamp, printed by a FreemasonOther countries quickly followed suit, and within a few years the first serious stamp collectorsappeared on the scene. The objective of Masonic Philately was the furtherance of Masonicresearch via the media of postage stamps, the dissemination of knowledge gained and the quietenjoyment of this interesting hobby. The area of study now includes special event and First Dayof Issue covers (FDC’s)postcards and postal seals related to the Fraternity, Masoniccancellations, Famous Masons on stamps, as well as Anti-Masonic themes on stamps.Modern MasonicFirst day cover1

ers’,thathavenewlyissuedstampspostmarked on the first day of use, or older stamps with postmarks from a significant city, suchas Truth, Oregon, Wisdom, Montana, or Temperance, Alabama.Many of those cities and towns have ceased to exist, and are referred to in the hobby as dead postoffices (DPO’s). In a search for topical material finding covers with those old postmarks itingdiscovery!From tmastersacrosstheU.S.weremembers of the craft. While Postal Service management in D.C. looked the other way somepostmasters took the opportunity to use personalized hand canceling devices that showed asquare & compasses, a setting mall, and even a representation of Jachin and Boaz, the pillars sonic cancel oncover2

Masonic KeystoneCancelMasonic Square &Compasses cancelsMany years ago I was given an old cover that has a beautiful green cancellation depicting a PastMaster’sjewel.Greencolorcancelsarequite rare, and very few covers remain today. whotriedtoperpetuatethelegendof‘ridingthe goat’in a Masonic Lodge by using a cancel with a small square & compasses emblazoned onthe side of a ecancellikethat,andthevalue, in 1975, was enough to by a small foreign car. There is a special reference catalogue(Skinner & Enos) issued for the very serious student/collector that shows over 325 differentMasoniccancelsusedfrom thelate1850’stoabout1929 from post offices over the entire U.S.On several occasions I have prepared covers for significant Masonic events, such as theanniversary of the founding of a Lodge, or the re-enactment of a cornerstone laying ceremonysuch as the one shown below. This example was signed by the Master of the Lodge and theGrandMasterofMason’sinVirginia, both of whom took part in the public ceremony.The signatures ad a special significance to the cover, as only 4 of the 10 covers that wereprepared for the event were signed. Signed covers were given to the signatories, one to the Lodgefor its archives, and one resides in my personal collection.3

The cover below was prepared for the installation of the Master of a Masonic Lodge, and wascanceled on the date of the ceremony.There are many Masonic related items to collect in the stamp hobby, and in preparing Masonicevent covers you’relimitedonlybyyourcreativity.Famous Masons on stampsThe most often collected area of Masonic Philately is that of the images famous Masons onstamps issued by various countries. Recent counts indicate that well over 1250 Masons haveappeared on stamps from over 83 countries. Fourteen US Presidents were Master Masons andone, Lyndon B. Johnson, received his Entered Apprentice degree, but never finished theremaining Blue Lodge degrees.4

Masonic Symbols on stampsThe second most popular way to collect and study Masonic related material is stamps and coversthat show Masonic symbols, such as the ubiquitous square & compasses.The British Peace Stamp Issue of 1946 (Scott No. 265) contains two obvious Masonic symbols,and because of that many Freemasons are led to believe it is a true Masonic stamp.Because the stamp was not issued for a Masonic purpose, I must quickly correct this belief. Ihave classified this stamp as one that inadvertently shows symbols that are associated withthe Masonic order. Officially, I am correct. The Scott Catalog shows that the stamp wasissued to commemorate the return to peace at the close of World War II, and Freemasonry isnot mentioned.5

Upon close examination there is, however, more to this stamp than meets the eye. In myresearch I obtained a copy of a newsletter from the Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukondated 1977. I was quite surprised by the information the article contained. Just how "Masonic"is this stamp? I offer the information here for your consideration: stamp shows King George VI who was a Freemason. He was a member of NavyLodge No. 2612, London, England.The stamp was actually designed by King George, VI himself.The stamp was released in 1946; the year King George was the Grand Master of theGrand Lodge of England.The stamp shows the square and compasses and a trowel, which are Masonicsymbols; also a brick wall showing cement, which also has Masonic meaning.The stamp has a curious ribbon that ties the King and the various symbols much likethe cable-tow referenced in Masonic ritual.The ribbon can be said to form five figures. The numbers three and five are verysignificant numbers in Freemasonry.The position of the square and compasses indicate the Fellow-Craft Degree. This wasthe King's favorite degree.If the top of the stamp is considered north, King George is situated in the east.The square depicted is an older form of the instrument (the arms are not equal in length).This form of the square is often portrayed on the jewel worn by the Master of an G"or"Gamma”denotingGodortheGreat Architect of the Universe.A further comment has been made about the dove carrying a sprig of acacia. However, I havedifficulty with this statement. Acacia is quite different in appearance and the branch shown onthe stamp has berries or "fruit" which would indicate the traditional olive branch, which ties appearsoverwhelmingthatKingGeorgehad Freemasonry in mind when he designed this stamp. But, we will never know for certain asthe secret is now safely stored in the archives of the Celestial Lodge above.It is not general knowledge, but General Nikolai Yudenich, Commander of the RussianCaucasus armies in 1919, issued the only Russian stamps that had an overt reference toMasonry. There were originally 5 stamps issued with values of 5, 10, 15, 20 and 50 kopecks,two of which are shown below, bearing symbols of the Craft. Each shows a square, and thewords inRussian,‘AreyouaMason?’6

Below are two examples ofMasonic‘didyouknow’stamps. The first is from Canada Post.When sold the center of the stamp is blank in which the purchaser can insert a design of theirown. This example is from a Mason who used a self stick Square & Compasses to show somecreative and great advertising for the fraternity. Canada Post discontinued the use of this blankcenter issue less than three months after it went on sale because of the abuse by postal patronswho placed many visual images on the stamps that were, at best, questionable.The second stamp is from Great Britain, and specifically was used on official mail from theUnited Grand Lodge of England. justvisible in the word revenue at the right margin) and the L at the bottom are punched into the faceof the stamp. This process allowed the Grand Lodge to track postage use, and prevented otherindividuals or organizations from using their postage.Where Lodges MeetThis stamp below was issued in 1970 to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the BermudaParliament. Originally the state house was purchased by the Masonic Craft in 1815, and is still inuse today as the Masonic Temple in St. Georges.The Masonic Temple in Tegucigalpa, Republic of Honduras is shown on this 1935 erredtoinourhobbyasa‘Cinderellaissue’,andas such is not valid to pay postage. The Grand Lodge of Costa Rica issued it to honor its Templeand one of its founders, Dr. Francesco Calvo, A Catholic Priest, who was initiated in Peru.7

Stamps for Masonic OccasionsThe second of three issues, this stamp honors the 125th anniversary of Masonry in Bulgaria. FreemasonryUniversal’,gives thedate as 1871 when the Grand Lodge of Bulgaria at Sofia was founded by French warrantedLodges.This Aruba stamp, issued in 1976, commemorates the 75th anniversary of Lodge El Sol Naciente.This stamp was issued to mark the centenary of the founding of the Grand Lodge of Turkey.The stamp shown below was used by Kempsville Lodge No. 195 in Virginia Beach to mailinvitations to their ‘Father&Son’nightin2009.The image is from alate1920’sMasonic artprint by Sam Brown entitled‘TheProudFather’and features a Mason instructing his son inthe proper way to wear his new Masonic apron.8

Even though the United States and Canada have never issued postage stamps honoring theMasonic fraternity, with the introduction of customized postage by private companies such asZazzle, Masonic images now appear on a wide variety of stamps.In 2009 the Grand Lodge of New Zealand had a series of Masonic stamps designed showing arts,andfamilylifeofNewZealandMasons.The stamps proved to be very popular and sold out quickly.Anti-Masonic Anti-Masonic’stamps.Here you will einthecapitalofBelgradelatein1941.The problem which bedeviled and split the Masonic Order in war torn Germany for years on endwas the acceptJewsforinitiation because their Craft degrees were followed by higher ones of a Christian concerned,onebriefbutimportantpassageintheAncient Charges was totally ignored. It may,heisnotexcluded from the order provided he believes in the glorious architect ity”.9

lhandtoourFatherland’senemy .weknowthatour enemies sit inEnglishLodges”.On January 1st of 1942 Serbia issued four postage stamps to commemorate the Grand AntiMasonic Exhibition, which opened in Belgrade on October 22nd of 1941. These stamps depict astrong, t-Jewish plot for worlddomination’.First, notice the face value, or cost of the stamps. It shows the regular cost of the stamp, llowedbyaplussignand a seconddenomination. The second cost, or surtax on this stamp issue, was used to pay for the printingand distribution of Anti-Masonic, Anti-Communist, and Anti-Jewish propaganda. Each ndicatingthe month of October, and waslabeled as an "Anti-Masonic Exhibition" and "Serbia" in Cyrillic letters.These stamps, with their combination of Masonic, Communist, Jewish and Serbian symbols (andnotice that Nazi symbols do not appear anywhere in the designs) provide a remarkable view intothe Serbian wartime view of the world. Even after the Communist takeover of Yugoslavia inMay 1945 Masons were regarded with great suspicion and contempt by the Serbian dominatedYugoslav authorities.The first stamp shows Masonry, allegorically clad as a hooded figure wearing an apron and Starof David upon its chest. This hooded figure is shown cringing from a strong ray of light, whichemanates from a circular design apparently representing the forces of Anti-Masonry.Nowhere in Masonry does a hooded figure appear. Also any Mason can readily see the fallacy of"Cringing from Light" because Masons ask for light at least three times as they progress throughthe degrees of the Blue Lodge. Then too, the attempt to link the Jewish faith with Freemasonry isvery evident by the Star of David emblazoned on the figure's chest.The second stamp in the series shows a hand emanating from a silvery light and grasping theneck of a huge serpent whose head rests upon a square and compasses. Note that this reptile iscovered with Stars of David rather than scales. Biblically, the snake represents the perceivedforces of evil (here reported to be Jews and Masons) and is symbolically being stopped by thehand of Nazism.10

The third stamp shows another Masonic symbol, a sheaf of wheat, superimposed upon a cross,which has a pointed lower leg together with the hammer and cycle, all resting upon and splittinga star in half, that star symbolizes Serbia. This attempts to show that the Jew, Mason, andCommunist are alike in their ideals, if not one and the same.The last stamp in the series shows a Star of David upon the curved surface of the earth locatedbetween two pillars, which are being torn asunder by a very zealous‘Sampson’,ofobviousSerbian descent. Masons will recognize the pillars as the two brazen pillars placed within theouter porch of King Solomon's Temple; that on your right, Jachin, and that on your left, estingworldwidetopicalstamps’.Used copies, and especially the first day of issue cover shown below, are veryscarce and highly prized by Masonic stamp collectors today.Serbian FDC11

Like most European Grand Lodges, the Grand Lodge in Serbia ceased to exist within a matter ofdays after the start of World War II. Sadly, after the liber

significant numbers in Freemasonry. 7. The position of the square and compasses indicate the Fellow-Craft Degree. This was the King's favorite degree. 8. If the top of the stamp is considered north, King George is situated in the east. 9. The square depicted is an older form of the instrument (the arms are not equal in length).