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BERLIN (Reuters) - Half a rare German postage stamp which dates back to 1872 has fetched some 261,000 euros ($347,500) at auction in the southern German town of Bietigheim-Bissingen, a spokeswoman for the auction house told Reuters on Thursday.
She said a German collector purchased the well-preserved half stamp, which originates from the northern German town of Syke, despite its hefty price tag because it was so rare.
"Stamps were in short supply in Syke between 1872 and 1874 so it was decided that they should be cut in half as a makeshift solution," she said. "But because this was only done for a short period, very few letters actually bear these halved stamps."
She said the winning bidder from north Germany was able to secure the stamp, which had an asking price of 120,000 euros, only after a lengthy duel with a bidder from south Germany.
The stamp was particularly valuable because it was featured as the cover picture on a book written about Syke's collection of halved stamps by Rolf Rohlfs in 1982.
Reporting by Michelle Martin, editing by Paul Casciato