In the popular movie "National Treasure" a band of treasure hunters searches for a glorious cache of riches hidden centuries ago by colonial Freemasons, including a few of the Founding Fathers. All of it was a bit of Hollywood fun, but in Concord, some modern day masons think they may actually have stumbled on a real-life treasure linked to none-other than the illustrious silversmith Paul Revere, who once served as Grand Master of the Freemason's Grand Lodge Of Massachusetts."We're excited. Proud. It links us again to the heritage that the lodge has," said Douglas Ellis, the senior deacon at the Corinthian Lodge in Concord, who said that about a year ago two members were doing some cleaning at the lodge and stumbled on a bag of antique-looking "jewels," the decorative medals Masons wear for ceremonial occasions."They thought they were just old regalia that had been tossed aside," said Ellis. "They were in a box up in a store room and we were like, 'Oh my. Look what we have here.'"Suspecting that the jewels might be pretty valuable, last month they asked a visiting Mason from Spain who is something of a silver expert what he thought of the cache. He confirmed their hunch that the jewels very well may have been created by Paul Revere himself.
"We have the documentation that puts them at the date, 1797," said Ellis, referring to the year the Concord lodge was chartered, which was the same year Revere served as Grand Master.It was also the same year that a set of jewels was donated to the Concord Lodge by its first Lodge Master, Dr. Isaac Hurd, who was initiated as a Freemason by none other than Revere, back in 1777."You know there was a very close tie between these two men," Ellis said, although he admits that it has been tough to say for sure that the jewels were made by Revere.Subsequent examinations of the jewels made at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington and by the curator of the Revere silver collection at Boston's Museum Of Fine Arts show many similarities between the Concord lodge jewels and others known to have been made by Revere, but "there are also a lot of things that do not fit," said Ellis."There's a lot of mystery that's still out there," he said. "Although it's not conclusive, all the signs point in that direction."
Although Ellis valued the silver jewels, which resemble ornate medals, at between $150,000 to $300,000, he said the small 14-piece set doesn't even come close to the massive fictional treasure hidden by Masons in the "National Treasure," film."This is nothing like that. These were items we were given or purchased. Revere did this as a business. He made money off this," Ellis said, and it's likely he made a good income as he chartered 23 new Masonic lodges in Massachusetts during his tenure as Grand Master.Ellis said the jewels are now locked up tight off site from the lodge and will only be brought out for special events, but their link to the Mason's, and the hall's, rich history, and to one of their most illustrious members, is what makes them priceless to the members."It's very fun," said Ellis.