The anchor is an ancient symbol whose function is easily understood, as an anchor holds a boat to the shore, providing safety and harbor. Its use as a Christian symbol of hope dates to at least 400 AD. Many American fraternal groups use the anchor in their degrees, including the Freemasons and the Odd Fellows; however, not every depiction of an anchor is necessarily fraternal. The origins of this anchor plaque remain obscure.
Stacy C. Hollander, "Anchor Plaque," exhibition label for Mystery and Benevolence: Masonic and Odd Fellows Folk Art from the Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection. Stacy C. Hollander, curator. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2016.