Bonhams to auction London 1948 games poster at Olympic sale

The famous official poster for the 1948 London Olympics is the leading lot among a selection of items from the ‘Austerity Games’ to be offered at Bonhams Olympic Games sale in Knightsbridge on 25 July.
Designed by Walter Herz, it shows an image of the Ancient Greek statue of a discus thrower, Discobolus, superimposed on a picture of Big Ben with the hands on the clock set at 4.00 ? the time of the official opening of the Games. The poster for sale was customised to advertise the Yachting Events which were held in Torquay between 3-6 August. It is estimated at £2,000-4,000.

The London Olympics took place as the world was slowly recovering from the shocks and privations of the Second World War in an atmosphere of make and mend. The athletics track, for example, was cobbled together by covering Wembley Dog Track with cinders. Food rationing was still in place in the UK and members of the British team had to supplement their diet with whale meat and food parcels from fellow citizens. The resumption of the Games after a gap of 12 years was seen as an important symbolic gesture of a determination to get back to normality. A record 59 nations took part though Germany and Japan were not invited and the Soviet Union declined its invitation.

Also featured in the sale is a large collection of programmes, tickets and booklets covering most of the major events from the Games, which ran from 29 July to 14 August. It is estimated at £1,000-1,500.