Olympic upheaval as posters reveal convoluted history of the wartime Games

Unused Latin American Olympics poster from 1940 for the Tokyo Games rescheduled in Helsinki for 1952 because of the war, estimated at $800-1200 at the Swann auction on August 7.

These two posters which will be offered for sale by Swann Auction Galleries in New York on August 7 illustrate the convoluted history of the Olympic Games during the Second World War era.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Anne Crane

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The XII Summer Olympiad was originally due to be held in Tokyo from September to October 1940 but political unrest because of the ongoing Sino-Japanese War resulted in the Games being rescheduled to take place in Helsinki from July to August of that year.

A promotional poster was designed by Finnish artist Ilmari Sysimetsa for the occasion but the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 meant the games were indefinitely postponed (although by that time the posters had been printed).

This Latin American version is a rare example of the 1940 poster and is guided at $800-1200. The Finnish capital finally hosted the games in 1952 with Sysimetsa’s design duly updated. An example of this later poster will also be offered, guided at $700-1000.