I get some movie fan extravagance. Who wouldn't want an iconic piece of memorabilia from their favorite star, especially if that star has passed away? But $42,000+ for an 8-year-old stamp? Canoe reports that another Audrey Hepburn stamp is getting auctioned, and the bidding starts at $42k. Why so much for such a young stamp?

See, the German government printed millions of these stamps in 2001, as part of a series featuring stars like Chaplin, Monroe, and Garbo. But since the image is of Hepburn smoking, it hit too close to home. Her son didn't like it and refused to allow copyright. (The actress died of colon cancer in 1993.) The stamps were destroyed, but some had already been delivered to the Deutsche Post, where some of these proofs were stolen by an unknown employee who used them to send mail. I guess he/she didn't think about how rare and desired they'd be. All these years later, only 5 have surfaced, and they're hot commodities. In fact, one sold for $75,000 in 2005.

I always find these sort of auctions to be the most strange and interesting. There's no direct link to the subject of the stamp -- it's not hers. She's not doing something surprising in the image -- there are lots of pictures of Hepburn smoking. It's not from a time when she was alive. It's not a miniscule investment that could become worth a bunch years down the line. Yet collectors are dying for it; fandom and collecting knows no bounds.

How far does (or would, if you were rich) your collecting fandom stretch? Far enough to buy a stamp worth more than a car?
categories Cinematical