A selection of cartoon-style WWII posters used for propaganda during the Second World War were recently auctioned off at Cornwall’s Penzance Auction House.
Reportedly, the WWII posters, numbering to about 150, are rare. As a matter of fact, some of these WWII posters were never seen before and were never went past mass production.
The collection of rare WWII posters recently auctioned included never-before-seen cartoon-style caricatures of the notorious German dictator Adolf Hitler as well as two of the Nazis’ top persons, Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbels. The colorful WWII posters bore sarcastic messages like “I NEED YOUR HELP…take time off”, “I NEED YOUR HELP…neglect your work” and “I NEED YOUR HELP…spread more gossip”.
These WWII posters were blocked from being mass produced or distributed, though, as it was feared that there was a great possibility Brits did not know the faces of their enemy’s leaders [explained by the scarcity of television sets in those times] and the people may take the messages literally.
These three WWII posters were sold off for £1,000 during the said auction.
Another highlight of the bidding was another rare poster created by artist Abram Games. The said war signage is dubbed the “Blond Bombshell” and features a bewitching blond with bright red lips bearing the words, “Join the ATS”. Accordingly, when Games’ work was presented, a fiery dispute ensued about whether it was proper to use the poster or not for the recruitment of women to the Army’s homey Auxiliary Territorial Services as it was deemed too glamorous.
The resulting squabble was too antagonistic that Conservative MP Thelma Cazalet condemned the poster in the parliament. In the end, the “Blond Bombshell”, like the three earlier WWII posters, was withdrawn from production.
The array of rare WWII posters which went under the gavel Thursday, November 6, also featured works done by famous artists like Kenneth Cyril Bird and Frank Wootton. There are also WWII posters created by several unknown designers.
The rare WWII posters collection was being sold off by Ernest Bendell-Bayly’s family. Ernest Bendell-Bayly was a commercial artist during the WWII-era with a studio located at London’s Fleet Street. His studio was responsible for producing propaganda posters helping in the war efforts.
A partner of the Bayly-Souster Group, Mr. Bendell-Bayly kept many copies of the posters printed in his studio regardless of whether they were distributed or not.
Before the auction took place, experts estimated the value of the rare WWII posters at £10,000. However, total sum the collection fetched went over that at £18,995.
Mimi Connell-Lay of the Penzance Auction House singled out the “Blonde Bombshell” ATS poster as arguably the most rare among the group of WWII posters which was controversially withdrawn as “it glamorized army life too much”.
She went on to say that most of these WWII posters have no duplicates, thus, their high price in the market.