Thursday, June 27, 2013

Collectibles: New Life For Old Relics

My conversation starter . . .

One of my favorite subjects--Masonic collectibles.  I've written about it a few times before, like here.

It's a fact that a lot of Masons collect Masonic stuff.  Some are eclectic collectors, or in other words, collect anything they can find--that would be me.  Others are very specific about what they collect.  Some collect nothing but swords, others collect antique rings, and I even know a guy that searches the world for Masonic bookends.

Of course the biggest challenge is figuring out what to do with this stuff once you have it.  Sometimes it's just finding a way to find a use for these old items.  I display the nice pieces, or the valuable pieces, but what do you do for all the rest of it?  I've found some interesting uses for some of that stuff.  For instance, I have a bulletin board at work--I have so many old Masonic lapel pins (most of which aren't worth much) I use them as thumbtacks.  I've got an old Masonic trowel I sharpened and use as a letter opener.  And I have an old Knight Templar's sword I use to protect my collection against my wife's spring cleaning (and it's very effective). 

Very cool old Masonic hoodwinks
My dad is an antique collector and dealer, and he finds Masonic stuff all the time for me.  Like this old Shriner's fez.  The problem is what to do with it.  My wife wanted to turn it upside-down and put a flowerpot in it (yes, we're still married).  I took it to work a couple weeks ago, and just set it on top of the bookcase in my office.  Man, did that get a lot of notice.  It's amazing how many conversations it's started. 

Another thing you could consider is sharing your treasurers.  If you find that beautiful old Masonic print or old photo, or set of working tools, or that amazing antique gavel--donate it to your lodge.  Display it there and let others enjoy it, too.

But I think the best way to display your collection is to use it the way it was originally intended.  Wear those old rings and lapel pins--find a jeweler that's good at restoring old jewelry and have it repaired, cleaned and polished.  Then wear it.  Use those old bookends you find--as bookends!  I wrote one time about an old lodge doorknob I found with the square and compass.  Put it on a door to your den or office, or do as a friend of mine did, and hang it on the wall and use it as a coat hook.

Whatever you do with your collection is up to you--the key is to enjoy it. 


Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel expected to be released in 2014. All of Todd E. Creason's books are sold at major online booksellers like and Barnes & Noble and are available for both Nook and Kindle.

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