What is it and What’s it Worth: Ancient Free and Accepted Masons

Often regarded as a secret society, the Free Masons have been operating across the globe for thousands of years. Throughout this time, they continue to develop a rich history of philanthropy and ritual, but did you know that they also have many collectible items associated with them?

Interested in learning more about Ancient Free and Accepted Masons? Check out the WorthPoint Worthopedia® where there are 227,842 results for Free Masons previously sold items. Keep reading to take your knowledge of the Free Masons and their collectibles even further.

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This is a ring from a Free Mason’s Lodge made from 14K gold, which increases its value greatly. It was sold in August 2020 for $620.

No one knows exactly when the Free Masons came to be. The first recorded poem that references them was published in 1390, but it was only a copy of an even earlier poem. Many scholars believe that the Free Masons descended from a Stone Mason guild in the Middle Ages. Masons meet regularly at Lodges. In 1717, the four lodges in England formed the first Grand Lodge of England, and since then, the records of the Free Masons are much more complete. The ideals of these original Free Masons included the dignity of man, liberty of the individual, right of all persons to worship as they choose, formation of democratic governments, and the importance of public education.

Freemasonry soon spread across Europe and to the American colonies. Many of the nation’s founding fathers were members of the Free Masons, including Paul Revere, George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin. Early lodges in America called themselves most commonly the Free and Accepted Masons. There was another sect of masons who called themselves the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. This resulted in a rivalry between the two groups.

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This Free Masonry Manual was sold in 2020 for $100. It illustrates many of the rituals that are performed at lodges and gives other essential information about being a Mason.

To join the Free Masons, one only needs to fit a few requirements. All masons must be male, believe in a supreme being, and be able to read and write English. Certain states also have different age requirements for joining the Free Masons. Religion and politics are never discussed in the Lodges or at other Mason outings. There are many other ceremonies and duties, but most of these are handed down by word of mouth through the generations of masons and are intentionally kept private. Free Masons also have a history of service to communities. In the 19th century, they founded many orphanages and homes for others. Today, they continue to give frequently to various charities.

While race is not an official factor in admission to the Free Masons, many early American Lodges refused to accept black Americans into their lodges. In 1775, the Prince Hall Freemasonry received permission from a Lodge in Ireland to be established. Prince Hall Freemasonry has since become the Grand Lodge for any African American Lodges in America. There are also other fraternities and orders associated and related to the Free Masons. These include the Knights Templar and Shriners.

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This lot of various Masonic memorabilia and regalia was sold in 2020 for $175. It includes an apron, calendar, and letters.

After someone has petitioned to join the Masons and they are voted into the organization, there are three levels of membership: Eternal Apprentice (Fellowcraft), Journeyman, and Master Mason. Masons can move from different ranks as they move through life and gain more experience as a human and as a Mason. Each level requires the mastery of different Masonic teachings.

There are over 6 million Free Masons worldwide currently, but with an organization that has spanned as many years as the Free Masons, there are plenty of collectibles from this unique fraternity. The current members of the Free Masons are the largest market for Free Mason memorabilia and collector’s items. Most collectors of Mason’s memorabilia ignore things from the modern era in their collecting pursuits, but there is an abundance of modern Mason memorabilia and collector’s edition items on the market.

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This depiction of a Free Mason Lodge in Pennsylvania is printed on the ceremonial jar. It was made in 1914, and it sold in 2020 for $74.

Many choose to focus their collection efforts on paper ephemera. Old manuals, calendars, postcards, documents, and other related items. These can sell for a variety of prices depending on the item but typically are sold for under $100. Generally, the older the item, the higher the price. Additionally, things that can more easily be dated, such as letterheads and postcards, are often more valuable.

Many also choose to collect antique Mason regalia. Free Masons have many different ceremonies and different proceedings that include robes, aprons, banners, furniture, gavels, photographs, swords, and more. These items can go for a variety of prices depending upon the age of the item, its condition, and what type of item it is. The larger and more complex the item, the more expensive it will tend to be. Full sets of items, such as a matching apron, dagger, and sash, tend to also be sold for higher prices. Sashes are one of the most expensive items of regalia that are sold.

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This 1944 Mason Eclipse Lodge medal made with 14kt gold sold for over $2000 in 2019.

Masonic badges, jewelry, patches, pins, ribbons, and rings are also commonly collected. Cufflinks and other forms of jewelry are often sold for $20-80. Large sets of pins, cufflinks, and other jewelry from the Free Masons are also valuable. Some rings that are made of gold, are antique, and/or have prominent design features could be worth over $100, but it does depend largely on the ring itself. Others can more commonly be sold for $20.

Though there are less famous members of the Free Masons than there once were, they continue to be alive and well to this day. This ancient brotherhood’s history can be well documented through its collectible items.

If you’d like to learn more about Free Mason collectibles, we have a WorthPoint Dictionary page on Ancient Free and Accepted Masons to check out next, and you can read more from the WorthPoint Library. There are several books that mention Free Masonry collectibles in the Library, and with your WorthPoint MAPS and Library subscription, you can read all of our books for free!

Kendall Aronson is a 2019 graduate of Berry College, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Public Relations with a minor in English. She has served as the Editorial Assistant for Berry’s Alumni Magazine, the Social Media, PR director, and Assistant Arts & Living Editor for the Campus Carrier. She offers an up-to-date look at collectibles for the Millennial audience.
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What is it and What’s it Worth: Ancient Free and Accepted Masons