Stamp of approval
One of the most active organisations for Freemasons is The Masonic Philatelic Club, as John Kernick explains
The collecting of stamps has been a popular
pastime since shortly after the issue of the first
Penny Black in 1840. Over the years the
number of new issues throughout the world
has grown yearly making it impossible to
collect all stamps of all issuing countries.
This has led to an increased interest in
collecting those stamps associated with a
particular theme, and an interest in those
associated in some way with Freemasonry
has been around for many years.
In fact, there was an article in AQC – the
Transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge
No. 2075, the Premier Lodge of Masonic
Research – some years ago, when the author
described how he went about this.
There were clubs associated with this
theme in other countries, but never in the
UK until the formation of the Masonic
Philatelic Club, the brainchild of Trevor
Fray of St. John’s Lodge No. 70 in Plymouth.
In 1974 Trevor, whose interests were the
stamps of Great Britain and the colonies, was
asked by the Plymouth Philatelic Society to
give a display at one of their meetings.
He decided to show just one of his
interests, the stamps of Tristan da Cunha.
As an addition to the stamps, and to add more
interest to his exhibits, he contacted Jennifer
Tombs, the designer of the set of stamps
issued the previous year to commemorate the
10th anniversary of the return of the islanders,
who had been forced to leave the island in
1963 due to a volcanic eruption.
She agreed, but requested a favour in
return, and asked that, at his display, he
mention the Guild of St. Gabriel, a society
for those interested in the theme of religion
Trevor agreed to do this, and at the same
time mentioned that he did not collect any
theme, but if he ever did so it would be on
Freemasonry. Not only did Jennifer send him
the designs he asked for, but also included a
first day cover of a French stamp, issued in
1973, to commemorate the bi-centenary of
the Grand Orient, the first stamp that he had
seen referring to Freemasonry.
From this one cover an idea was born, and
Trevor decided that his theme would
be Freemasonry, if he knew what to collect.
He therefore contacted the secretary of the
Devon and Cornwall Masonic Study Circle
This enquiry resulted in an introduction
to the late Terry Waghorn, Past Grand
Master of the Mark Master Masons in
Cornwall, an avid collector of the
After several discussions they agreed to
form a club, with Freemasonry as its theme,
and Terry Waghorn became President. An
advert was placed in Stamp magazine about
the formation of a Masonic Philatelic Club
and more than 50 replies were received and
the Club was born. The club’s stated
“The furtherance of Masonic Research via the
media of postage stamps, the dissemination of
knowledge gained and the quiet enjoyment of this