An over-enthusiastic member of staff at the Royal Mail has destroyed a rare set of stamps.
The envelope was sent from Switzerland and included a rare first day cover – when a stamp is issued and used on the first day of its existence.
Collecting first day covers is a popular aspect of philately and stamps marked in this way have enhanced value and collectability.
Unfortunately for collector John Richard from Glastonbury, his stamps arrived on Friday morning – complete with a Royal Mail special delivery sticker slapped right across them.
"I've been collecting stamps on and off since I was a kid," he said.
"These were sent to me by a friend in Switzerland – they probably cost around £15 on face value, but obviously I'm not sure what the value would have been with the first day stamp on it.
"To say that I was unimpressed is something of an understatement."
To make matters worse, when Mr Richards took the envelope to the post office to complaint, an enterprising member of staff tried to peel the sticker away from the stamps – tearing some of them.
And adding insult to injury, when Mr Richards asked for a complaint form to be sent to him on Friday, it still hadn't arrived by Tuesday morning.
"Our usual postman is brilliant, but we've had a few bits of items going missing somewhere in the system, or turn up late over the years," he said.
"And we only live about 150 yards from the sorting office.
"It's hardly surprising people are turning away from Royal Mail."
A spokesman for Royal Mail said the incident was being investigated by their customer services department.