An extremely rare Austrian postage stamp showing the face of the Dalai Lama is to be auctioned in the German city of Dusseldorf this week. It is said to be one of only 30 of its kind.
The stamp may not be old, but it is rare
The Austrian post office designed the stamp to mark the 70th birthday of the Tibetan leader in 2005, but the stamp did not go into large-scale production.
"There were only a few test prints made by hand, because a new color was being tested," a spokesman for the Austrian post office told German news agency dpa.
The Austrian post office denied reports that political pressure from China had prevented the stamps from going into production. "Many designs are tested and not pursued," the spokesman said.
Auctioneers Felzmann maintain there are only 30 of the stamps in existence. The stamp had never before been offered at auction, they said. The starting price for Thursday's auction was put at 4,000 euros ($6,200).
EU leaders have agreed to prepare tougher sanctions that could be imposed on Russia within days. The concensus emerged after several hours of talks to decide how to respond to the deepening crisis in eastern Ukraine.
The European Union appears set to step up sanctions on Russia over the situation in eastern Ukraine. Not only the country's president has warned that Ukraine is "close to the point of no return."
At the end of the first week of the US Open, the top men's seed were all standing going into their third-round matches. No German women went beyond the third round.