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The “Le Point Parfait” Silver Masonic Token France 1760

Updated: Dec 3, 2021




This is the coin (token) you often see us using as our logo and on our website. Let us start by saying that this is the finest and only known example in silver and we are proud to be its current curator through its long life. This token is graded MS62 by PCGS and it has an incredible history to say the least.


From Early French Freemasons in the era of the French Revolution... to American Colonization and its founding fathers in the early days of the United States; Researching this incredible piece of history has been like living the movie National Treasure.


Throughout the token we see masonic symbols represented.


On the obverse, "a pyramid on the right of which a man is seated; behind him is an acacia bush and a globe; at the foot of the globe a scroll with Masonic devices. In the sky above are nine stars, in groups of three. In the background, faintly seen, is another pyramid, and a pillar. The Legend says 'Du Point Parfait A L Orient De Paris' or 'Lodge of the Perfect Point'. The date (1760) is written 5760 using the Masonic Calendar.


On the reverse, "a circle formed by a snake devouring its tail, within which on a platform is a beehive, on the left of which is a square and rough ashlar, and on the right the compasses and a perfect ashlar: above on the left of the radiant sun. Below the platform a gavel and trowel crossed. The Legend says 'Eternite Constance'." - American Journal of Numismatics (July 1877)


There is a note at the foot of the page in the journal that reads "The date on this medal is probably that of the foundation of the Lodge, and not the striking of the medal." The earliest writings I have found related to this token are written in German in 1829 by a man named Merzdorf. It is just a brief description similar to the American Journal of Numismatics, however it neglects to mention a silver version existing.


From my research on this and other masonic tokens, it seems to be a common tradition to reserve the silver tokens for the leaders of the lodge while bronze was given (or purchased by) members.


Joseph Lakanal was one of the leading members of “Le Point Parfait” Masonic Lodge in Paris, France in the 1790’s, he became a freemason around 1786 and later founded two other High Degree Chapters: “La Triple Harmonie” & “L’Abielle Impériale.” He was a leading figure throughout the French Revolution and was a high-ranking elected official, at one point voting for the execution of King Louis XVI. He is also the only member of "Le Point Parfait" that I have been able to find in my research.


Shortly after the French Revolution, Lakanal used his friend, André Thouin, to reach out to Thomas Jefferson in America in December of 1815. Lakanal developed a close relationship with both Thomas Jefferson as well as the current president, James Madison. In their letters, Lakanal seeks to flee post-revolution France for a better, safer life in America. President Madison and Thomas Jefferson welcomed him with open arms, even giving him 500 acres of land in Alabama. After some time in America and being the elected President of The University of Louisiana; Lakanal moved back to France in 1834, where he died in 1845.


Being that Lakanal was a high-ranking Freemason in “Le Point Parfait,” there is a high likelihood that he would have been one of the few, if not only member, to receive the silver example of the “Le Point Parfait” masonic token. This, potentially, would explain how the rarity ended up in the United States. “Le Point Parfait” was a smaller lodge, and while there are no historical records available to show the exact number of members at the time, it is unlikely that another high-ranking official could have brought the token to the United States.


Therefore, I believe that the silver token has a very high likelihood of belonging to Joseph Lakanal himself. The history behind these tokens is rich and connected to many famous French dignitaries & American founding fathers.


I am always doing more research on this token and would appreciate anyone with information to contact me!



Sources:

3. Letter from André Thouin to Thomas Jefferson (December 18, 1815): https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-09-02-0166

4. Letter from Joseph Lakanal to Thomas Jefferson (June 1, 1816): https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-10-02-0062

5. Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Lakanal (July 30, 1816): https://www.loc.gov/resource/mtj1.049_0325_0325/

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