A medal that is depicted in a Freemason document from 1952 bears two encrypted inscriptions. Can a reader decipher them?

Four weeks ago, before I attended the Charlotte International Cryptologic Symposium, I had the chance to visit a number of museums, libraries and archives in New York and Washington. One of the highlights was the Livingston Masonic Library on the 23rd Street in Manhattan. There I spent a few hours searching for documents about Freemason ciphers.


A medal from Connecticut

In fact, I found some interesting material. For instance, I came across a booklet with the following title page:


In this Freemasonic document from 1952 a Freemason’s medal is depicted:


According to the booklet, this is an “old Masonic medal found in Norwich, Connecticut”. I have no further information about it.

On both sides, this medal bears an encrypted inscription (at the upper edge). It is easy to see that the encryption system used is a variant of the Pigpen cipher, which used to be very popular among the Freemasons (it is sometimes even referred to as “Freemason cipher” or “Freemason alphabet”).

Can a reader break these two inscriptions?


Another Masonic medal

Four years ago, I introduced a similar Freemason medal on this blog:


After a few days, blog reader Peter Lichtenberger from Austria posted the solution. Here’s the cleartext:

H. T. W. S. S. T. K. S.

These letters stand for HIRAM, TYRIAN, WIDOW’S SON, SENDETH TO KING SOLOMON. A few weeks later, the Freemason Library and Museum in London confirmed that this decryption is correct. Here is how the encryption works:

A|B|C  J·|K·|L·  S··|T··|U··
-----  --------  -----------
D|E|F  M·|N·|O·  V··|W··|X··
-----  --------  -----------
G|H|I  P·|Q·|R·  Y··|Z··

Now, let’s see whether a reader will find out how the Pigpen cipher used to encrypt the inscription of the medal from Connecticut works.

Further reading: Ten peculiar uses of the pigpen cipher


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Kommentare (5)

  1. #1 HF(de)
    11. April 2018


  2. #2 Thomas
    11. April 2018

    “Let there be light and there was light” (Genesis 1:3)
    “I am what I am” (Corinthian 15:10)
    There seem to be some encryption mistakes, as missing dots

  3. #4 Klaus Schmeh
    12. April 2018

    Thanks, Thomas! Another cryptogram solved. I will put Deerfield, MA, on my Cryptologic Travel Guide.

  4. #5 Martin Macrae
    22. April 2018

    “bet there be light and there was light” seems a better fit;