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But one resourceful German soldier, eager for his letters to reach home even though he had used up his stamp quota, resorted to creating an ingenious forgery. His copy of the official overprint was so good it fooled the authorities who validated his letters allowing them to be delivered safely home.

One of these forged German ‘Feldpost’ forgeries will be offered on August 29 by stamp specialist Harmers in their mammoth 1600-lot sale. The rouletted blue postal forgery is missing the top right hand corner but its extreme rarity has seen it estimated at £400.

The sale, which contains postal material from all over the world, also includes an interesting group of 1840 Penny Blacks and a group of Cape of Good Hope triangulars including ‘woodblock’ issues with the 1d blue error of colour which are expected to make upwards of £12,500.

The monetary highlight of the day is expected to be a collection of stamps from the Australian state of Victoria. The collection, which will be sold as one lot, is expected to bring as much as £18,500.