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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 December, 2004, 15:38 GMT
Rare Hepburn stamps 'go missing'
By Bethany Bell
BBC News, Berlin

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn's son barred the stamps' publication
Around 30 extremely rare postage stamps of the late film star and United Nations Children Ambassador, Audrey Hepburn, appear to have gone missing from the German Finance Ministry.

The stamps, picturing Miss Hepburn in a large hat, were part of a series commemorating Hollywood stars.

They were supposed to appear in Germany in October 2001, but they were ordered to be destroyed after one of Miss Hepburn's sons withdrew the rights to their publication.

All proof copies were recalled but one set, given to the German Finance Ministry, has not been traced.

Now a spokesman for the Federation of German Stamp Collectors, has told the BBC that a collector from southern Germany is in possession of one of the stamps, with a postmark dating from the autumn of this year.

The German Finance Ministry says it cannot be certain that all the stamps were destroyed.

In the hands of a collector, the stamps could be worth around $27,000 (19,839 euros or 13,976) each.

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