|Postcard of the Masonic temple in Chicago.|
At one time, tallest structure in the world.
As I got older, I started to not mind the antique stores as much. Sure, the cat and fabric stores still drove me to the brink of, well, whatever you can be driven to the brink of as a 12 year old. I mostly just sat in the car and read my comic books. But when we went to antique stores or malls, I found myself looking at interesting things, historical things and just plain cool things.
The first thing I developed an interest for and something I started collecting was little wooden boxes, like small treasure chests. I had probably five or six of them at the height of my collection, which doesn't sound like a lot, but remember, they were antique, so they weren't cheap.
|Commemorative plate of the 1963 World Fair's|
After becoming a Freemason, antique stores held yet another thing for me to look out for. Every once in a while (once a month) I will stop by the local mall for a walk around. It usually takes me about an hour. You'll always find certain Masonic things e.g. pins, fezzes and pocket knives. But many of the items are actually new or just a couple years old. They get passed off as antiques because most people think we don't exist anymore and hence, it must be an antique. But every once in a while, I find a gem. Something that is truly remarkable. Again, things must meet the criteria; affordable, authentic and intriguing.
|"Secret Society" pin which I recently bought.|
My most recent trip was just last week, where I found myself looking at a set of bronze Masonic bookends. The price was right, $45 for the set, but, I thought "Where am I going to put those?" And then I continued my browsing. I was at the end of the antique walkabout when I spotted a peculiar pin. The tag said "Secret Society Pin" and was marked $10. Needless to say, I bought it. I can't call it exclusively Masonic because, well, who knows. But it is certainly applicable to the craft. Pictured here in this post are just a few of the finds which I have been lucky enough to have found.
If you're like me, and enjoy a kind of "treasure hunt" then I hope the hunt is good to you. Have fun and share your finds with me, after all...
Bro. Robert Johnson, 32° is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the First North-East District of Illinois. He is the Master of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 and Education officer for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois as well as a member on the Grand Lodge Education Committee. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies, AMD, The Illinois Lodge of Research and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago as well as a charter member of the Society of King Solomon, a charity organization run by the Grand Lodge of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. In addition, he produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the Fraternity and writes original Masonic papers from time to time. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of three. He works full time in the safety industry and is also a photographer on the side as well as an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays.