Masonry by design or by accident?
by Christopher L. Murphy
I am certain I am not the only masonic philatelist who has been asked about the British Peace Issue of 1946 (Scott No. 265). This stamp has two obvious masonic symbols and many freemasons believe it is a true masonic stamp.
Because the stamp was not issued for a masonic purpose, I have been quick to correct this belief. I have classified this stamp as one that inadvertently shows symbols that may be associated with the masonic order. Officially, I am correct. The Scott Catalog shows that the stamp was issued to commemorate the return to peace at the close of World War II, Freemasonry is not mentioned.
There is, however, more to this stamp than meets even the most trained eye. A few weeks ago, a lodge brother, Charlie Oddstad, telephoned me and asked if I were aware of an article about this stamp that appeared in our Grand Lodge bulletin back in 1977. I did not recall the article so Brother Oddstad sent me a copy. I was quite astounded by the information the article contained. Just how "masonic" is this stamp? I offer the information here for my fellow brother philatelists to consider:
1. This stamp shows King George VI who was a Freemason. He was a member of Navy Lodge No. 2612, London, England.
2. The stamp was designed by King George VI himself.
3. The stamp was released in 1946, the year King George was the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England.
4. The stamp shows the square and compasses and a trowel which are masonic symbols. There is also a brick wall showing cement which also has masonic connotation.
5. The stamp has a curious ribbon that ties the King and the various symbols much like a cable-tow.
6. The ribbon can be said to form five, (5) figures. The numbers three (3) and five (5) are very significant numbers in Freemasonry.
7. The position of the square and compasses indicate the Fellow-Craft Degree. This degree was the Kings favorite degree.
8. If the top of the stamp is considered north, King George is situated in the east.
9. The square depicted is an older form of the instrument (the arms are not equal in length). This form of the square is often portrayed on the jewel worn by the Master of a lodge. Also, the form represent the Greek letter "G" or "Gamma" denoting God or the Grand Geometrician of the Universe.
A further comment is made about the dove carrying a sprig of acacia. However, I have difficulty with this statement. Acacia is quite different in appearance and the branch shown on the stamp has berries or "fruit" which would indicate the traditional olive branch.
The evidence appears overwhelming that King George had Freemasonry in mind when he designed this stamp. But we will never know for certain the secret is now safely stored in the archives of the Grand Lodge Above.
The Masonic Philatelist, Dr. Allan Boudreau, publisher. Masonic Stamp Club of NY, Inc.. vol 49. no. 4, December 1993 ISSN : 1069-3580. Note that this modern interpretation is not substantiated by contemporary accounts.