"Keep Calm and Carry ON" poster (1939)
“Keep Calm and Carry ON” poster (1939)

The “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster was designed by the UK Ministry of Information in 1939 to represent a message from King George VI to try to prevent widespread panic in the face of a possible German invasion. The Ministry distributed 2,500,000 copies of the poster but, a year later, after the Blitz, all the printed posters were sent back for pulping and recycling as part of a paper salvage drive to overcome the shortage of raw materials.

Until 2012, when 20 copies turned up on an episode of the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, it was believed that only two copies had escaped pulping.

One of the prints was discovered in 2000 at the bottom of a box of old books by Stuart Manley, the owner of Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland who framed it and hung it on the wall behind his cash register.

It has now gone on sale at Manning Fine Arts in London. If you are interested in acquiring it, the asking price is £21,250 ($au36,00).

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