Blonde Bombshell vintage poster to start bidding war

A banned World War II poster, best known by its nickname ‘the blonde bombshell’, is set to thrill as much as it did in 1941 at The Vintage Posters Sale on now until February 2 online at

Designed by Abram Games in 1941, this rare vintage poster has become seductively infamous – despite its innocent intentions, and carries an estimate of £2,000-£4,000 in the sale.

Vintage poster 'Join The ATS' designed by Abram Games in 1941

The well-meaning poster campaign was aimed at recruiting women to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service, but rapidly attracted widespread and unexpected attention. With pouting red lips, blonde curls and striking lighting reminiscent of a Hollywood film, the glamorous design sparked controversy which rippled throughout the press, the public and even the government. Ultimately deemed as too provocative for the wartime British public, the poster was banned. Not only was it considered too sultry and suggestive, but the poster was also condemned as ‘too Soviet’ by Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Bonhams Specialist, Richard Barclay, commented: “We are all familiar with the instantly recognisable WWII posters such as Keep Calm and Carry On – a wonderful example of which also features in the sale – but Join the ATS is much rarer and its bombshell status has cemented is place as a desirable vintage poster with a unique backstory.”

Elsewhere in the sale, other highlights from an exceptional single-owner collection of vintage posters includes

Monaco (1935) by Geo Ham (1900-1972). Carrying an estimate of £14,000-16,000.

Vintage poster for Monaco 1935 designed by Georges Hamel

Bresil-Plata by Sandy Hook (Georges Taboureau). Estimated at £3,000-5,000.

Vintage travel poster designed by Georges Taboureau

A red and white ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ poster. Estimated £10,000-15,000.

A vintage wartime poster for 'Keep Calm and Carry On'

A truly beautiful Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) Zodiac ‘La Plume’ poster. Estimated at £10,000-15,000.

Alphonse Mucha vintage poster for Zodiac la Plume