Masonic Philately

Masonic philately (the collection of postage stamps) covers Freemasonry in all its aspects both in this country and throughout the world.

Numerous stamps have been issued which incorporate Masonic symbolism – for example a complete set of stamps issued in Brazil to commemorate  Stonemason’s day. In the UK only one such stamp has been issued which is the “Victory” stamp issued after the end of World War II – a copy of which is on display.

Other stamps depict famous Freemasons such as George Washington (USA) or Cecil Rhodes which was issued by the then Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) while yet others depict milestones in freemasonry – for example, the stamp issued by Jamaica in1992 to recognise the establishment in Jamaica of the first Provincial Grand Master under the English constitution.

Picture postcards have been in existence since the late 19th century and are now in everyday use. An interesting development happened in 1907 when 6 humorous postcards entitled “Are you a mason?” were issued by the Anglo American Card Co. It is thought that their issue  was  stimulated by the play of the same name which was running in England in the 1900’s. These were soon copied and up to a 150 different series are known to exist – an original of the 1907 set is in the collection. The “comic” theme continued with the production of cartoon type postcards depicting various animals acting as Freemasons.

Whereas from the mid 20th century Freemasonry has  often been considered  to be “secretive” this was not the case at the start of the century when Freemasons were seen as being attractive to the opposite sex – resulting in a series of postcards depicting the attractions of Freemasons to the fairer sex!!

One of the reasons Fremasonry became more secretive was the actions of Fascist governments in the inter war period. Hence there are a number of “anti-masonic” stamps issued by Germany under Hitler and Spain under Franco which do not depict freemasonry in a favourable light.

Particularly in America postcards depict Masonic meeting places but British postcards are also to be found showing “landmark” buildings such as the Temple in Great Queen Street in London – and, more locally, the temple in Birmingham.