Here, on this Fraternal Society Collectors Page, you can find swords, regalia, uniforms, badges and implements used, worn and sometimes worshipped by past and present Societies and their members. For the time being we have included Police, Fire, and other Brotherhood Fraternities, also. In time we will develop their own pages.
Pictured is a small collage of regalia and frock coat that was representative of the style many fraternal societies employed. After the War Between the States, much surplus of military uniforms and gear was available and a lot of this was sold to fraternal organizations and foreign armies. Various swords, sword belts and items of clothing were altered or, in some cases, used as issued. Many existing societal groups joined the fracas en mass and probably many of the individual members used what was comfortable to them in service. I have personally collected (or accumulated) quite a few items of the societies, including swords, belts, awards and clothing. While presenting this page I will undoubtedly relearn and expand on what I know or knew about this fascinating area of collectability.
Fur and feather chapeau by Ames Sword Company of Chicopee, Mass. The next three items of Masonic Regalia came from an order in New Hampshire. The Ames Sword Company was in existence as listed from 1881 to 1925 and produced swords, uniforms and badges during that time. I believe these were from the York Rite but I can not be sure. The hat pictured here is in fine condition but the feather plumes have some deterioration. ...
Unusual Masonic Apron with Skull
This Masonic apron of black velvet with silver bullion edging & silver mountings was made by Ames Sword Company, Chicopee, Mass. It is unusual to find the skull and cross bones emblems. It is in excellent to near new condition but one cross bone rear retainer has come apart that needs soldering. You probably won't see another of these for sale. ...
Masonic Velvet Sash
Masonic sash of black velvet with silver bullion edging & silver mountings. Made by Ames Sword Co., Chicopee, Mass. and among the same group as above. It is in excellent condition and is bedecked with Masonic Jewels and emblems. The thumbnail photo shows the reverse with Ames Sword Company label and close-up of Jewel. Items like these are getting scarce because of high collector interest and relatively small supply. Most of these are kept in the family or by the Rite for continual use.
K of C or Knights of Columbus Sword & Scabbard
A Knights of Columbus sword with scabbard in fine condition with exc. unsharpened straight double edged blade and cast German silver mounts. Marked "Lynch & Kelly, Utica, NY" on ricasso, the blade is acid etched with motifs on both sides and in script "Knights of Columbus", about half remains of the gold wash. The metal scabbard is nickeled, and has some brown patina with dark spots of pebbling also, German silver fittings. The japanned wood grip shows wear spots. The head is adjustable enough to face in either direction, you choose which is proper. This sword dealer was in business from around 1875 and production was into the mid twentieth century. The time period of this sword appears to be from the 1940's or '50's. This has seen use but will make a fine overall example of a nice clean, early sword.
Ancient Order of Hibernians Sword & Scabbard
Militia Eagle Pommel Sword with Scabbard
This spread eagle pommel on ball was a prized emblem for Militia and Fraternal orders. This example seems to have cast German silver grip and scabbard parts, the scabbard being nickel plated and with a small dent below rings. The wood grip is red leather covered with gold color grip wire, the leather has some high areas worn thru. The blade is straight, double sided and with elliptical cross section and in fine cleaned condition. This is unmarked and probably from the 1865 - 80 period, possibly later. A nice example of a dual use sword in war or in the Brotherhood.
Knights of Pythias Fraternal Sword & Scabbard
This is a fine old example of the Knights of Pythias highly decorative sword with nickeled scabbard. A chain Bond of Steel runs from the Knights Head pommel to double Phoenix crossguard and shield with emblazoned "U R", the reverse has "F C B" on crossguard for Friendship, Charity and Benevolence. The Pythians were the first Fraternal Organization chartered by the United States Congress and at the urging of President Lincoln in 1864. Its' goal was to bring the both sides of a warring Nation back to Peace and Brotherhood. This sword is a fine example of that reverent period and lofty goal. I do not know the age and can find nothing on W. Pettis but by style is probably around 1865 to 1875. The blade is marked William Pettis, Troy, NY and the owner is etched into blade as L. B. A. Snyder. The leather covered wood grip does show some wear but the sword is tight and the blade is in excellent condition. We have this fine piece of Americana priced at
IOOF Rebekah Plate