American designer Harvey Ball is credited as the author smiley, but researchers have found one in a letter from abbot Bernard Hennet, of the Cistercian monastery in Žďár nad Sázavou, and in the mid-18th century.

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David Merta, from Archaia Brno, said: “Either it could mean that he marked the place where the seal should be, or it means that someone has approved the document,” he explained that the fact the image is so similar to today’s smiley is unclear and that more investigation would be needed.

“So we will continue to research, and proudly, so we become pioneers in smileylogie, unless it already exists.” Hennet Bernard became abbot in Žďár nad Sázavou after the death of Abbot Václav Vejmluva in 1738.

From Warwickshire, UK. Journalist, editor and presenter. BA. Hons. Journalism, Liverpool John Moores University (BJTC certified).