By Denise McCarty
The Isle of Man Post Office has added a hidden logo to its set of six stamps celebrating 300 years of English Freemasonry's first Grand Lodge. The stamps will be issued May 11.
In announcing the issue, the Isle of Man Post Office said: "The stamps are filled with symbols and references including a hidden logo only visible under UV light, GPS references to places important in Freemasonry including those on the Isle of Man and a subtle ribbon honouring the 50th year of the office of the current Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Kent [Prince Edward, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II].
The hidden image is the official logo of 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England.
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The website of the grand lodge describes Freemasonry as "one of the world's oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. Its roots lie in the traditions and ceremonies of the medieval stonemasons who built our cathedrals and castles. Some rituals are still celebrated today."
The stamps feature the badges of office of the senior officers within the lodge. Pictured in the background are symbolic architectural elements from lodges and related locations in England and the Isle of Man.
The designs also include GPS references to these places. According to information from the Isle of Man Post Office, these are the Freemasons' Hall on the Isle of Man, 20 pence; the main lodge room at the Grand Lodge, Queen Street, London, nondenominated first-class stamp; the Freemasons' Hall in Bristol, 50p; the Masonic Memorial Garden at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, £1.30; and the plaque marking the site of the Goose and Gridiron Public House in St. Paul's Churchyard, where the first grand lodge was formed 300 years ago, £1.74.
The £3.40 high denomination includes several GPS references. The Isle of Man Post Office said that these "represent the charitable giving of Freemasons and refer to three landing pads of the Air Ambulance service in Caernarfon (Wales), RAF Benson (Thames Valley) and Royal London Hospital (London). The GPS references are accompanied by the Call Signs of the helicopters that have saved so many lives." For more information about the stamps, visit the website of the Isle of Man Post Office.