The Magazine Antiques shared a Masonic moment on its social media today: an acquisition by an “outdoor history museum” in Massachusetts caught the attention of the magazine’s editor at large, who made it the magazine’s Antique of the Day. Check out this beauty:
Historic Deerfield is a village in the Connecticut Valley that preserves many facets of life in 18th century New England. It features historic architecture, museums, a library, and more to educate the public on the way we were during previous centuries. Here is how it catalogs the silver Masonic piece (you’ll forgive the Corinthians reference):
Probably New England, 1775-1800
John W. and Christiana G.P. Batdorf Fund, 2015.35
Introduced into the American colonies around 1730, Freemasonry achieved great popularity after the American Revolution. Enthusiasm for this fraternal society grew alongside interest in the intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment and new theories on equality.
Jewelry as well as other regalia played an important role in Masonic rituals and ceremonies. The symbols engraved on this medal are primarily drawn from the manual tools of stonemasons, such as the square and compass, the level and plumb rule, and the trowel.
This medal also makes use of the pigpen or Masonic cipher, a simple geometric substitution code, which replaces each letter of the alphabet with a different symbol. The inscriptions translate as “I Am that I Am” (1 Corinthians 15:10), and “Let there be light and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).
This silver medal descended in the Putnam family of Connecticut and may have been owned by General Israel Putnam (1718-1790) of Pomfret.