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What is a Secret Postcard Auction?

This year, we’re excited to be holding our first ever Secret Postcard Auction. From 10 October (World Mental Health Day) until 23 October, we’re giving you the chance to secure a unique piece of art created by leading artists, well-known celebs and veterans in our first ever online Secret Postcard Auction. The postcards vary in media and style, with art creations ranging across pop art, abstract, figurative, illustration and more.

But what is a Secret Postcard Auction and how does it work?

How does it work?

Simply place a bid on your favourite piece of art (or the art you think is by your favourite artist) and, if you’re the highest bidder when the auction closes, you could you be the lucky one who picks up an original Anish Kapoor, Patrick Hughes, George Underwood, or Maggi Hambling piece of artwork. Only when the auction closes will the winning bidders know who created their standout piece of artwork.

You’ll have the opportunity to explore the collection of art (and place an early bid) during our exclusive online showcase on 5 October, and you’ll also be able to discover a full list of artists involved in the event. But figuring out what artwork matches which artist? Our lips are sealed!

All proceeds raised through our Secret Postcard Auction will go towards helping more veterans to receive our life-changing mental health treatment and leave the battlefield behind.

Why World Mental Health Day?

Art and mental health

At Combat Stress, we know the value art can bring to ensuring positive mental health.

Veterans undergoing treatment have the chance to explore art therapy to help them express their emotions and find a way to explore their mental health issues. Art therapy provides a channel of expression for emotions that may be too difficult to put into words. It provides a different way of working through traumatic experiences. And looking at art can reduce stress, improve brain function and help us refresh.

Our Senior Art Therapist Jan Lobban says, “Taking time to pick up a paintbrush or pencil and let an image emerge and develop can be an investment in mental health. Art making can not only be a pleasurable way to distract our thoughts from everyday concerns and pressures, it’s also a means of self-expression and a channel for self-discovery.

“For the veterans we work with, it’s about being able to externalise things that might not be making sense. Many have not painted anything since school but, encouraged by our specialist team, it can be enormously helpful.”

By bidding in our Secret Postcard Auction, you can help more veterans access our life-changing mental health services, including art therapy. You might also find your own mental health get a boost, as you explore the masterpieces available for the auction. Among the range of leading artists and well-known celebs, there will also be artwork created by veterans who have benefited from art therapy from Combat Stress, helping them to not only leave the battlefield behind but also to discover a new talent and creative outlet.

Spike's story

“Painting enables me to escape from damaging memories and thoughts.”

Martin ‘Spike’ Dunkin joined the Royal Navy at age 17 and served around the world, including in the Falklands.

“Art helped me a great deal. Before coming to Combat Stress, I’d never painted a picture in my life but, with the encouragement of the specialist team at the charity, I tried it out.

“Very soon I fell in love with painting. As I continued with treatment for PTSD, my painting improved and as my art improved, my PTSD became more manageable. Painting has given me something constructive to do and takes my mind away from the traumas I’ve suffered.

“Art has given me a confidence that was lacking for so many years and enables me to escape from my harmful thoughts. “I feel like I’ve got my life back.”

Artwork by Spike – and other veterans who have benefited from Art Therapy – will be included in the Secret Postcard Auction.

Exclusive online event

See the artwork before everyone else

On Tuesday 5 October 2021, we’ll be holding an exclusive online pre-event showcase where attendees will be among the first to view the selection of art from the comfort of their home. You’ll also have the chance to bid early before the auction opens to the public on 10 October (World Mental Health Day).

Register interest before 30 September, you’ll go into a draw where we’re giving one lucky person the chance to win two tickets to our limited-capacity event at Bonhams Auction House, London on Tuesday 5 October to see the artwork up close and mingle with some of the artists involved.