This fourteen by nineteen inch poster recently sold at auction for £33,000, it is a wanted poster, printed in black ink on a single leaf of paper. It is three hundred and sixty one years old and is in almost mint condition. This rare wanted poster, is a demand for the capture of King Charles II, it offers a £1,000 reward for the Kings capture which is equivalent to £75,000 in today's money.
At the top of the poster we can read the powerful words:
'A PROCLAMATION for the Discovery and Apprehending of CHARLS STUART and other Traytors his Addherents and Abettors.' It was issued on Wednesday 10th September 1651 and calls upon 'all Officers, as well Civil as Military, and all other good people of this nation' to make a 'diligent search' for the king." and warns if anyone 'knowingly Conceal the laid Charls Stuart' they will be held as 'partakers and Abbettors of their Trayterous and wicked practices'.
The poster was issued by Oliver Cromwell, the victor of the Battle of Worcester on the 3rd October, in response to the king fleeing on horse back and later famously hiding an oak tree at Boscable Staffordshire. Charles evaded Cromwell's forces and with the aid of Catholic nobles he made his way to the coast and escaped to France. Auctioneer Richard Westwood Brookes said
"This item represents a slice of history that could have ended our monarchy and entirely changed the constitution of our country and an extremely rare item of great historic importance." he continued 'I have only ever seen one other similar poster and that was 40 years ago.To obtain such an important document produced when the King of England was held as a fugitive is extremely rare. Very few items capture a moment in history quite as well as this - it truly is the world's most famous wanted poster."
Had the King been caught at the time, he would have been executed and we would no longer have a monarchy.