Aug 04, 2022 - Sale 2612

Sale 2612 - Lot 121

Price Realized: $ 15,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 12,000 - $ 18,000



29 1/2x19 3/4 inches, 75x50 cm.
Condition B+: small tear at lower left edge; minor creases and abrasions at edges; creases in image and along horizontal folds. Paper.

With Britain formally declaring war on Germany on September 3, 1939, the newly re-formed British Ministry of Information immediately began working on a giant poster publicity campaign to prepare the British populace for what the ministry feared would be an "appalling series of shocks, resulting in shattered nerves, a lack of confidence in ultimate success, and therefore a lack of will to work for victory" (Three Posters). Instead of a photograph or an illustration, each poster bore a depiction of the crown of King George VI at the top as an indication that the messages came from the King himself. The third, and now most famous, of these slogans was kept back in anticipation of a truly horrific incident, such as the invasion of Britain by German forces or a severe air raid. Since the expected German attack never materialized, and because the first two posters had been met with such derision, "Keep Calm and Carry On," was never posted and was kept in storage for years. After the war, the remainders were scrapped for their pulp. Contemporary reports cite that almost two and half million copies of the poster were printed. An HMSO (His Majesty's Stationery Office) printing slip order form for the job breaks down that number, showing that the poster was printed in 12 different sizes, and that in this format, only 496,500 were printed (ibid.).