Masonic Memorabilia for Collectors by Bill Jackman, published by Gemini Publications. ISBN 0953063720 £17.95sb.
SOUNDS a bit scary does Freemasonry in the Community, but earlier this year Bonhams Leeds did their bit to further “out” freemasonry when masonic lodges across the country were opened to a public agog to know that new members to the all-male Craft are no longer given a traditional warning that the penalty for revealing masonic secrets is a slit throat.
At the launch of the freemasonry Website – e-masonry aimed at telling “Joe Public” all about
the Craft – the Webmaster Nava Navaratnarajah commented to a disappointed world: “It is only the rituals that we like to keep secret.”
Bonhams put up a sale of some 112 lots, although around one third of them failed to reach their reserves, some of which were thought to be too high, largely due to the absence of reference books or early market records. But this has not deterred Matthew Coles of Bonhams Leeds, himself a Freemason and Bonhams specialist on Masonica, who plans to hold an annual spring sale… and next time he will have a reference, Masonic Memorabilia for Collectors.
For a lay person this book is a highly complex tale of secrecy, rifts, breakaways, Ancients and Moderns and masonic orders with names like the Holy Royal Arch and its All Seeing Eye jewel, and my favourite, the Moose jewel – a medallion-type of embellishment – always shown in profile, so you never get a full-on Moose. But, as some of the buyers at Bonhams Leeds were non-Masons, this collecting arena might just be the latest fad for the decorators market.
Bill Jackman’s book is well researched and thorough, covering glass, china, jewels, books and prints with a price guide in sterling and US$. As the first book to be published on Masonica, it will surely fill a gap in the market.
The author is a Freemason who specialises in china and glass and via his Website, www.masoniccollectors.com, he is interested in forming an International Masonic Collectors’ Club.
One of the most spectacular places to visit is the Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London, a place fair reeking with wealth and privilege, one of the finest private libraries in the world, and a large masonic museum full of pottery, porcelain and glass including some fine examples of William Beilby’s work.