CAN YOU HELP?
In 2016 I made a blog post about a ‘Mysterious Masonic Artefact’ and asked for your help in identification. Yesterday, 3th March 2018 I was given further evidence of the same artefact but this time without a masonic connection. In this blog post I have the original, plus the update and ask if anyone can help. Last time I had suggestions such as a leather belt or tie clasp, but there were few other comments.
Keith Bains was out detecting recently when he unearthed a small metallic masonic item and didn’t know what it was. He showed it to me and I didn’t recognise it either, so sent a picture off to a couple of my masonic friends, asking if they had any idea what it could be. They came up with ideas, but nothing definite. One of them even asked on an online masonic forum if anyone had come across anything similar, but to no avail.
HERE’S the ARTEFACT
Then I sent a picture to the curator of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE ) museum asking for their help in identification. I gave them all the details I knew, but this wasn’t much. The size is important. At approximately one inch and a quarter long by an inch high, it’s rather small. The hinge works perfectly well. Found in the North of England and made of metal. That’s about it, really!
The UGLE spokesman was rather baffled too. This was the answer.
“It isn’t a book plate, could be a clasp for a pouch but it’s oriented the wrong way. Might be a strap end, for a hanging strap of some sort, but we can’t for the life of us figure it out otherwise. Sorry. If we get sudden inspiration we’ll get back to you.”
So, as they say, the jury’s still out. If you know what is might be, then please contact me … I’m losing sleep over this! Somebody, somewhere knows what it is. With your help, I’d love to tell the finder and the museum what this item is – for definite!
ANOTHER SIMILAR ITEM
Keith Dodds showed me a metal masonic artefact last year, but wasn’t sure what it was. Neither am I, but it does have similarities with the one above. Have any of my readers come across anything like this before? Picture shown is about 5cm long. This picture was shown on a previous occasion. We still don’t know what it is or its function.
UPDATE MARCH 2018
Sandra Shaw contacted me today regarding another one of these items that had turned up on the UKDFD. As an advisor on the database, she is also determined to find out what it is. Interestingly, this example doesn’t seem to have a masonic connection. Have you many ideas? Click to enlarge.
Sandra also points out another similar artefact, number 11734 that has been on the database, unidentified, since February 2008. It is recorded as a copper-ally hinted clasp. On one end there is a circular gilded mount or setting for a jewel or stone, now missing. One end has a pierced, the other end has a protruding lug with a raised point. Again, not masonic … any ideas? Again, click on image for a larger picture.
David Frew contacted me via Facebook and said that he would post the artefact on various Masonic FB pages. He received a a reply from the person responsible for the local Masonic Archives, and this what he said:
“I believe it is the catch from an old Masonic bible used to hold it closed. We have many similar in our archive. Hope it helps you”.
Case closed? What about the other non-masonic examples?
UPDATE September 2019 – From Sandra Shaw
Hi John, can you give this a bump please, we now have anothr one on UKDFD, this one is missing the backpart and the decoration is a cross with trefoil terminals, not a common find I wonder they have been imported, possibly from the US, all the suggestions made on your blog have been followed up, I have an image of all five of them which I will send to you.
Best regards Sandra. And here they are . . .