German furniture store chain has apologised for selling coffee mugs featuring faint portraits of Adolf Hitler it had mistakenly ordered from a Chinese supplier, a news report said on Thursday.

The vintage-style ceramic cups feature a faint image of a Nazi-era postage stamp that shows a black-and-white profile of Hitler, postmarked with a swastika stamp, all obscured by other design elements including a rose and cursive script.

The Zurbrueggen furniture chain had ordered a batch of 5,000 of the mugs and had already sold at least 175 when the mistake was noticed.

The owner blamed the "terrible" mistake on "a stupid chain of unfortunate circumstances" involving a Chinese designer.AFP