Masonic Tokens and Medals

Masonic Tokens and Medals

The Magic Power of Numbers medals

White metal, 51.3mm

Bronze, 51.3mm

1880 Egyptian Obelisk Medalets

     The Egyptian Obelisk is a 220 ton, 69 foot tall single piece of red granite which still stands in Central Park near the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Although nicknamed Cleopatra's Needle it was actually erected 1000 years before her reign by Thutmosis III (1479-1425 BC). In 1877 the Khedive of Egypt offered this as a gift to the United States as a goodwill gesture and to help attain economic aid for his country. The obelisk was transported to the U.S. in 1880 but was not actually stood in place till January of 1881. The cornerstone was laid in October of 1880 with full Masonic pomp and ceremony; over 9000 Masons paraded up Fifth Avenue with an estimated crowd of 50,000 spectators.
     A recent letter (January 2011) to the Central Park Conservancy and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg from the secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, has threatened to remove the obelisk and return it to Egypt if better care is not taken of it. The issue is whether acid rains and the weather conditions in New York city are eroding the surface and erasing the heiroglyphs.

Marvin 712, Rulau unlisted, silver
There was a group of medals placed in the cornerstone of the Statue of Liberty by the Masons and records indicate that a silver example of this medal was among them.

Marvin 712, NY-NY 63, copper, 34.3mm

 Advertising card for J & P Coats

Marvin 712, NY-NY 63A, gilt brass, 34.3mm

Marvin 712, Rulau unlisted, brass (66.76% copper, 33.24% zinc),
      This piece was originally described as gilt brass but analysis indicates it is brass. Do gilt brass pieces exist?

Advertising card for Vaseline

Marvin 712, NY-NY 63B, white metal, 34.3mm
   Rulau only list copper, gilt brass, and white metal varieties for this medalet; Marvin list silver, brass, copper and tin. He also has "bronzed" in the description after copper so I am not sure if it indicates "bronzed copper". Rulau does not indicate any rarities for these pieces and values them equally. Both the copper and white metal seem somewhat scarce. The brass example pictured above is the only one I have seen and seems to be much rarer. I have not seen a gilt brass or silver example.
     Rulau does not attribute it to George H. but a footnote in Marvin reads "The dies were cut by Lovett of New York, and the pieces were sold to be worn in procession when the corner stone of the base was laid with appropriate ceremonies by M.W. Grand Master"

Loading the obelisk into the Steamship Dessoug

Olive Branch No. 39 Medalet

Marvin 288, first reverse, silver, 34.3mm

Marvin 288, first reverse, bronze, 34.3mm

Marvin 288, first reverse, copper, 34.3mm

Marvin 288, first reverse, white metal, 34.3mm

Marvin 288, first reverse, gilt brass (61.27% copper, 34.54% zinc, 4% gold), 34.3mm

Marvin 288, first reverse, brass, 34.3mm
     Marvin attributes these medalets to George H. and states they were struck in silver, copper, bronze, and white metal.  A Bangs & Co. Auction catalog of 1878, in a somewhat confusing entry, also list brass and gilt. A footnote in the text says two of the silver were struck with blank reverses - one engraved with the initiation date of Thomas Warner, the member of the Olive Branch who had commissioned these pieces, and one with the names of the eight individuals who were "the founders of the Old Round House". I have not seen either of these.
Marvin 288, second reverse, silver, 34.3mm

Marvin 288, second reverse, bronze, 34.3mm

Marvin 288, second reverse, copper, 34.3mm

Marvin 288, second reverse, white metal, 34.2mm

      The same auction catalog as above may indicate brass and gilt for the
second reverse also.

1875 Masonic Temple Dedication Medalet

Masonic Hall, corner of 6th Ave. and 23rd St., New York City
    The cornerstone for this magnificent building was laid on June 8, 1870. The financial panic of 1873 caused a delay but finally on June 2nd, 1875 the building was dedicated - the final cost $1.279 million! The dedication ceremonies were also magnificent. The Committee of Transportation had arranged with the railroads to transport members to New York at half fare. A procession of over 25,000 Masons marched through the streets of the city, each with its own band or two. Platoons of mounted police brought up the rear.
     By the turn of the century what had been considered a masterpiece of architecture was now seen as passe`. A fire in 1883 had done extensive damage and the income that was anticipated from retails shops on the ground floor and rental on semi-public rooms did not materialize. The building was dismantled in 1911 and a new temple constructed in its place.

Marvin 37, silver

Marvin 37, copper
(image courtesy of Stacks Bowers)

Marvin 37, bronze, 31.3mm

Marvin 37, white metal, 31.2mm

Marvin 37, unlisted in brass, 31.3mm

Muling with Sage's Masonic Medalet No. 1 die
Marvin 303, silver, 31.2mm

Marvin 303, copper, 31.3mm

Marvin 303, brass, 31.4mm

Muling with Wood's Hollandesche Loge die

Marvin 37A, copper, 31mm
(image courtesy of Stacks Bowers)

100th Year of Our National Independence / Masters Carpet mule

Marvin 278, GW-874, Baker 293, silver, 32mm

Marvin 278, GW-874, Baker 293A, copper, 31.4mm

Marvin 278, GW-874, Baker 293C, brass, 32mm

General Lafayette / Masters Carpet mule

Marvin 280, silver, 31.5mm

Marvin 280, bronze, 32mm

Marvin 280, copper, 32mm

Lake City Lodge No. 27 Medalet

     Obverse: Lake/City,/Fla./G.H.L within a circle, Lake City Lodge No. 27 + outside circle. Reverse: A plumb, level and square with all-seeing eye above.  In the original text Marvin states they were struck in brass and copper; a hand written note in my copy says "I have this in silver, brass, copper and bronze".
Marvin 290, silver, 28mm

Marvin 290, copper, 28mm
(on line image)

Marvin 290, bronze, 28mm

Marvin 290, brass, 27.8mm

Washington Bust reverse GW-841, Baker 310, copper, 27.9mm

Washington Bust reverse, GW-841, Baker 310A, white metal, 28mm
      The reverse is found with 3 different Washington dies and cataloged as Baker 307, 308, and 309. Marvin did not seem to be aware of these.

Hopkins Lodge No. 180 Medalet

Marvin 301, silver, 20.9mm
An 1882 catalogue of the Charles I. Bushnell collection
states that only 10 were struck in silver

Marvin 301, copper, 21mm
(on line image)

Marvin 301, brass, 21mm