'Remarkable and almost mint’ century-old army recruitment posters from 1919 have been discovered by chance in a Derbyshire attic.
And such is their rarity and condition, the 12 posters are expected to fetch around £1,000 when they go under the hammer in Hansons’ Medals and Militaria Auction on July 26.
Hansons’ militaria expert Adrian Stevenson said: “They’re an incredible find. Things often get lost and totally forgotten in a loft – only to be found years later by someone who’s moved into the house.
“That’s exactly what happened in the Derbyshire town of Ilkeston. A home owner was in the attic when he came across what at first may have seemed nothing out of the ordinary, some folded up pieces of papers.
“But when he opened them out he found 12 remarkable army recruitment posters printed in 1919 – exactly 100 years ago. They are stunning and the vast majority are in mint condition given their age.”
“They sweep us back to the year after the 1914-1918 First World War had ended. The huge loss of life in that conflict meant army numbers would have been brutally depleted.”
The posters are emblazoned with words like ‘Travel All Over The World with The Machine Gun Corps’ or ‘The Call Of The Open Air – Join The Regular Army – It’s A Man’s Life’.
“Not a politically correct statement in this day and age but this was 100 years ago,” said Mr Stevenson.
Another says ‘Join The Royal Engineers – This Is A Topping Life’. One poster features a relaxed soldier on horseback, smoking a pipe, with the words ‘Not A Care In The World’. Written by hand underneath is ‘Apply Drill Hall Ilkeston’.
“It’s amazing to think these have been gathering in dust in an attic for 100 years,” said Mr Stevenson. “The owner was taken aback by the valuation but they are exceptional and many keen militaria collectors would love to own them.”
The posters will be sold separately, estimate £60-£90 each, but collectively are expected to fetch around £1,000 in Hansons’ July 26 Medals and Militaria Auction.
They can be viewed at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire, DE65 6LS on Wednesday, July 17, 11am-7pm.
To arrange a free valuation of militaria-related finds, email Adrian Stevenson: [email protected].