ISSUE 11, October 2004
Elias Ashmole: Masonic Icon
Travel: The magical beauty of Scotland
Honoured: By the Glovers' livery company
The Theatre: Strong links between Craft and stage
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Mauritius: Fascinating Masonic history
Rochester Cathedral: Kent Masons' magnificent fresco
Clerkenwell: 25 years of Masonry
  Bravery award: One Mason's heroism is honoured
Christmas shopping: What to buy in London's West End
High flight: Helping terminally ill children
Jewels of the Craft: An essential part of Masonry
Library & Museum: John Pine exhibition and Library & Museum Trust report
Masonic education: Events for Masons; Quatuor Coronati Lodge; Mentors for new Masons
Charities: Masons provide emergency aid for flood victims; Charity news; Demelza gives voice
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Masonic Collectors

Masonic jewels are an important part of the history of the Craft, as David Heathcote explains.

From left:
The Martin Folkes Medal; The Sackville Medal; Jewels of the Craft Founders Jewel 1990; Aldershot Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No.54

Jewels of the Craft

Masonic ritual informs every brother that he should be a promoter of the Art. Indeed, it should be his duty to make that daily advancement, not only in our knowledge, but for the benefit of those brethren who surround him.
    That was the central theme of the Jewels of the Craft principal founder, Henry Engelsman.
    The idea first took flight in March 1990 when he wrote to the Masonic Square magazine:
    “…I would be happy to hear from any brother who might like to form or be included in … a circle for the mutual exchange of information and examples”.
    Examples of what, you ask? The answer: Masonic jewels, or to the lay person, medals of our Orders – and so Jewels of the Craft Study and Collectors Circle was formed. Constituted in June 1990 at Freemasons’ Hall, London, with the aim of promoting the study and collecting of Masonic jewels of all degrees, the Circle began life with a healthy outlook.
    It had a strong founding membership, with replies from interested Masons from many Provinces supported by a strong knowledge base, with the initial subscription list boasting curators of four Provincial Masonic museums.
    Today, the Circle has over 300 members worldwide, admission being open to Master Masons who have an interest in Masonic research within the numismatic world.
    Initial meetings took place in London, but it soon became apparent that a more central location was required, and so the Circle found its home in Birmingham at Stirling Road, Edgbaston. Many of its members are also in the Mark Token Collectors Club and the Masonic Philatelist Club.
    The first ‘scientific’ British account of Masonic jewels appeared in 1901, entitled ‘The medals (commemorative or historical) of British Freemasonry’, by George Shackles. This slim, but important volume has since proved a valuable source of knowledge for Masonic researchers. The earliest jewel known to British Freemasonry – the Sackville medal – was struck in Florence in 1733, suggesting that Charles Sackville, later Duke of Dorset, became Master of a Lodge during his stay in Florence in that year.
    It may seem strange that the earliest Masonic jewels were from continental Brethren. The first jewel to be struck by an English Lodge in England would appear to date from around 1772, although a French Lodge working in London may have preceded that date by six years.
    The second oldest Masonic medal is attributed to Martin Folkes, Deputy Grand Master between 1724 and 1725, and he was to be the subject of a jewel in 1742.
    During his life Folkes was acknowledged as a leading authority on English coins, and after his death in 1754 the sale of his collections, including books and medals, took 56 days at auction! Hence the early jewels were born, not to be displayed with regalia, but issued to commemorate notable events and dates.
    A useful definition of how to view our numismatic history can be found in a work entitled Dialogues on the usefulness of Ancient Medals by Joseph Addison (1672-1719). He states: “You are not to look upon a Cabinet of Medals as a treasure of money, but of knowledge”.

Thomas Harper Lodge Summons