The Shriners are one of the most recognizable fraternal organizations in the world. It is no wonder that they are often imitated. This has especially been a challenge in the African American community, with several spurious organizations purporting themselves to be a legitimate Shrine organization (for reference, the only legitimate organizations are Shriners International and the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.) Sadly, this also makes very difficult to determine if a fez comes from a legitimate or clandestine group.
This fez, designated as being from Rameses Shrine No. 6, of Chester, PA, certainly fits the bill. We can find no reference to a legitimate Shrine organization with that name, number, and location. Additionally, the fez is white, making it even more suspect. White fezzes are often used by women’s groups, though no sign of that exists with this fez. In another twist, the tassel is pinned to the right. Most men’s organizations pin the tassel to the left; the ladies often pin to the right. So, while we think it is a spurious Shrine fez, it may belong to a spurious ladies organization.
The construction of the fez leads us to believe that it was made from between 1950 and 1980. The emblem and lettering are done in bullion and rhinestones, so it would not have been a cheap hat to have produced at the time. The tassel is plain black and is held in place with a simple single-row rhinestone chain guard.