Smoking Hepburn stamps up for sale

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A rare sheet of 10 stamps showing the Hollywood star Audrey Hepburn smoking is expected to fetch at least £350,000 at a charity auction in Berlin.

The German postal service printed 14 million of the stamps in 2001. They show Hepburn as Holly Golightly from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's with a cigarette holder between her lips. Hepburn's son, Sean Ferrer, refused to grant copyright for the stamps and the German government ordered them destroyed, but a few sheets survived.

Mr Ferrer had wanted a different image to be used because he objected to the fact that she was smoking. He is an anti-smoker and supporter of cancer research. Audrey Hepburn died of colon cancer in 1993 at the age of 64.

The sheet being sold for charity is the one originally sent to Mr Ferrer in 2001 for approval.

Five of the stamps, presumed stolen from the postal service, have been sold previously, with one fetching £150,000. The fifth one sold last year in Berlin for nearly £47,000.

The stamps will be auctioned in Berlin next Saturday for Unicef and the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund.

Other movie stars featured in the series included Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe.

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