Stamp depicting Audrey Hepburn smoking sells for $93,800

Image courtesy Auktionshaus Schlegel.

Image courtesy Auktionshaus Schlegel.

BERLIN (AP) – A rare stamp portraying movie star Audrey Hepburn smoking sold for euro67,000 ($93,800) at an auction held in Germany on Tuesday.

The Schlegel auction house declined to identify the buyer, who was represented by an agent.

A minimum bid of euro30,000 was set for the stamp, of which only five copies are known to exist.

Auctioneer Elisabeth Schlegel announced that the stamp – which escaped being incinerated by the German government – had sold for euro53,500. After adding commission and sales tax, the total came to euro67,000.
In 2001 the German government printed 14 million Audrey Hepburn stamps as part of a series featuring movie stars including Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo.

The print run was destroyed after Hepburn’s son, Sean Ferrer, objected to the cigarette holder dangling from the actress’ mouth and refused to grant copyright.

However, the Finance Ministry had already delivered advance copies of the Hepburn stamps to Deutsche Post for approval. Thirty of those proof copies escaped destruction when an unknown employee pocketed them and used them to send letters postmarked from Berlin.

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AP-ES-05-26-09 1325EDT