King David Kalakaua was the last King of Hawaii who reigned from 1874 to 1891.
On the occasion of his 167th birthday, November 15, 2003 a group of local Honolulu Masons acquired a valuable possession of the Merrie Monarch from Sotheby's Auction House in New York and presented it to 'Iolani Palace curator Stuart Ching. The 'Friends' of 'Iolani Palace bid on a Knights Templar Masonic sword that was made for Kalakaua, and was one of five items that belonged to the King that were auctioned. Also auctioned were two other swords and two walking canes. "All of these items were connected with the King and I wish we could have gotten them all, but we're happy that we got one of the items at least," Ching said. "We just didn't have the reserves to bid successfully on all the items." The winning bid for the sword was $13,000, said Deborah Dunn, executive director of the Friends. The sword eventually will be part of a new exhibit, the Gallery on Royal Lifestyles, which is not expected to open for at least four years, she said.
Kalakaua was proud of his status as a 32nd Degree Mason, and local Masons came to the aid of the Friends by offering to pay for the sword. The Masons laid the corner stone at the 'Iolani Palace in 1879 and stood guard when Kalakaua lay in state after his death.
Dunn said she hopes to some day have all of the items at the palace.
"We can hope that the people who purchased them, and we don't know them, will enjoy them for now and think about us later, I'm happy for what we got and I'm mostly happy that people were affected and wanted to help." She said the palace has a photo of the king wearing a Masonic ring and holding the sword.
Provided by G. Fred Petry, Jr., P.M. Doylestown Lodge No. 245
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