There are a few discoveries that I have made about the US one-dollar bill since writing my 2005 book Solomon’s Treasure: The Magic and Mystery of America’s Money. At the time of writing it, I made several conceptual connections between the US dollar and the “Shekel of the Sanctuary” used in ancient Israel, and the treasury of King Solomon, and the Knights Templar. I noticed during my research that there seemed to be a mathematical correlation between the dimensions of the Sanctuary of Solomon’s Temple and those of the dollar bill. However, I was unsure of this theory, so I didn’t publish it. Recently, however, I have discovered that I was exactly right. This came about when I was helping a colleague, Michael Mackay, prepare a manuscript about sacred geometry in US currency. I mentioned my theory to him. The next day he showed me a picture in a Masonic reference book that took my breath away.
First off, this last summer I discovered during my research that the original design of the one-dollar bill is that it was originally a silver certificate, not just a fiat note, and the design for the front of the bill was slightly different. This is a fact that seems to have been overlooked by almost all researchers writing about the one-dollar bill, including me, including David Ovason, author of The Secret Symbols of the Dollar Bill.
For whatever reason, although the other bills issued after 1935 were Federal Reserve Notes backed only with the “good faith” of the United States government rather than gold or solver, the one-dollar bill remained a silver certificate, redeemable in silver from the US Treasury. Gold and silver certificates had both been in circulation as paper dollars prior to this point. Gold certificates were phased out when the gold standard was removed, as well as most larger-denomination silver certificates (although a few 5s and 10s still circulated). But the one-dollar bill remained a silver certificate until 1964, when it too was made purely fiat Federal Reserve Note, and the front of the bill redesigned to the way it is today.
This was done ostensibly because there was too much demand on the Treasury for silver, and supply was running low. It also just happened to follow attempts made by President Kennedy shortly before his death to restore the power to issue money to the US Congress instead of the Federal Reserve. On June 4, 1963, Kennedy signed Executive Order 11110 allowing the Treasury to issue silver certificates against any silver it had in store. Five months later he was dead. President Johnson immediately had all silver certificates removed from circulation and replaced with Federal Reserve notes, but the Executive Order still stands, although it has never been acted upon.
The most noteworthy feature of the old silver certificates is that there are pillars on the right and left sides connecting the numbers “1” that are in each of the corners. These reminded me of Solomon’s Temple, and the two pillars, Jachin and Boaz, that stood outside of the entrance to the temple. These are also represented at the entrance to a modern Masonic lodge. The ovals atop each of the pillars on the silver certificate, each containing the number 1, reminded me of the two spheres that sit on top of the pillars at the Masonic lodge, which represent the terrestrial globe (the Earth) and the celestial globe (the heavens, or the night’s sky) respectively.
In 1928, the size of US dollar bills was reduced and standardized to what it is now: 2.61 inches wide and 6.14 inches long. As Michael Mackay pointed out to me, the proportions of this rectangle is almost identical to that of the “oblong square” in Freemasonry, upon which the proportions of the lodge floor plan are based. These proportions themselves correspond to those of the floorplan of the Sanctuary of Solomon’s Temple. The four corners of the lodge also are said to correspond to the four corners of the globe. As Albert Mackey shows in The Lexicon of Freemasonry, the North (or the top of the rectangle) represents the “Inhabited Parts of Europe.” The East (on the right) represents Asia Minor. The South (at the bottom) represents the “Inhabited Parts of Africa.” Finally, the West, on the left, represents the Atlantic Ocean. In a graphic found in the book, the center of the rectangle is attributed to the Mediterranean Sea.
“The oblong square which thus enclosed the whole habitable part of the globe, would represent the form of the lodge to denote the universality of masonry, since the world constitutes the lodge; a doctrine that has since been taught in that expressive sentence: In every clime the Mason may find a home, and in every land a brother.”
Elsewhere in his book The Symbolism of Freemasonry, Mackey says:
“… the Pillars of Hercules in the west, on each side of the straits of Gades or Gibraltar, might appropriately be referred to the two pillars that stood at the porch of the temple.”
From Masonry Defined: A Liberal Masonic Education, compiled by E.R. Johnston from the writings of Mackey and “Other Emminent Authorities,” we learn this:
The form of a Masonic lodge is said to be a parallelogram or oblong square - its greatest length being from East to West - its breadth from North to South… At the Solomonic era - the era of the building of the Temple at Jerusalem - the world, it must be remembered, was supposed to have that very oblong form, which has been here symbolized. If, for instance, on a map of the world, we should inscribe an oblong figure whose boundary lines would circumscribe and include just that portion which was known and inhabited in the days of Solomon, these lines running a short distance North and South of the Mediterranean sea, and ex tending from Spain in the West to Asia Minor in the East, would form an oblong square, including the southern shore of Europe, the northern shore of Africa, and the western district of Asia, the length of the parallelogram being about sixty degrees from East to West, and its breadth being about twenty degrees from North to South. This oblong square, thus inclosing the whole of what was then supposed to be the habitable globe, would precisely represent what is symbolically said to be the form of the lodge, while the Pillars of Hercules in the West, on each side of the straits of Gades or Gibraltar, might appropriately be referred to the two pillars that stood at the porch of the Temple.
… But in this case the definition of the symbol is extended, and to the ideas of length and breadth are added those of height and depth, and the lodge is said to assume the form of a double cube. The solid contents of the earth below and the expanse of the heavens above will then give the outlines of the cube, and the whole created universe be included within the symbolic limits of a Mason’s Lodge… The double cube is an expressive emblem of the united powers of darkness and light in the creation.
Interestingly the same proportions can be found on the ceiling of the Additional Senate Office Building, northeast of the Capitol, on Constitution Ave in Washington D.C. The shape is delineated by 38 zodiac images, with the 12 astrological signs repeated, some of them more than once, and arranged in a rectangular shape.
In his book The Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capital, David Ovason discusses the oblong square as being derived from “the projected celestial lines of the equinoctial and solsitial colures”; that is, the meridians of the celestial sphere as it passes through the celestial poles and the two equinoxes. Paraphrasing an earlier Masonic author, Henry Pelham Holmes Bromwell, and his 1905 book Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolism, Ovason writes:
Within this rectangle [Bromwell] assigned the projected circles of the two colures. These were so arranged to form a lemniscate [a figure 8 or infinity symbol] within which is the elliptic, or projection of the path of the Sun, through the zodiac.
Yet another Masonic author, Kevin L. Gest, demonstrates in his book The Secrets of Solomon’s Temple that the Masonic lodge floor plan is derived from the dimensions of Solomon’s Temple, and that it can be formed using the vesica pisces, a geometric shape made from two interlocking circles. From the vesica pisces, all other geometric shapes can be formed.