KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON’, a rare original WW2 poster

£19,995.00

‘KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON’,
a rare original WW2 poster red background with white lettering and crown, printed by HMSO, September 1939
74.8 x 50.5cm

This poster has now become one of the most famous propaganda icons of World War II, and the irony is that the poster was never displayed in public. In September 1939, ‘Keep Calm’ and two other letterpress posters had been put into production, ‘Freedom is in Peril…’ and ‘Your Courage…’ were displayed in public places, but the third – now recognised the world over with the unforgettable slogan – was not. It is now widely accepted that it was held back in anticipation of an invasion of Britain by the enemy or a severe air raid.

The ‘Phoney War’, being the period September 1939 to May 1940, proved to be largely uneventful for the home front, and a change in attitude to the wording probably contributed to the poster never being used.

Although many thousands in several sizes were originally printed, only a few examples have ever appeared for sale. This example is in the larger double crown format.

World War 2, and the irony is that the poster was never displayed in public. In September 1939 Keep Calm and two other letterpress posters had been put into production, Freedom is in Peril… and Your Courage… were displayed in public places, but the third now recognised the World over with the unforgettable slogan was not, it is now widely accepted that it was held back in anticipation of an invasion of Britain by the enemy or a severe air raid. The “Phoney War” being the period September 1939 to May 1940 proved to be largely uneventful for the Home Front and the poster was never used. A change in the attitude to the wording probably contributed to the poster never being used. Although many thousands in several sizes were printed only a few examples have appeared for sale, this example is in the larger double crown format of which according to HMSO records 496,500 were printed

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