Two stamps issued on February 25, 1959, honored Jose de San Martin (1778-1850), the "Hero of the Andes", as the fourth person to be featured in the Champions of Liberty series that honored men who fought for freedom in their homelands and offered a counterpoint to the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union. The First Day of Issue ceremony was a by-invitation-only event held in the Postmaster General's Reception Room in the Post Office Department building in Washington, DC.
Jose de San Martin, an Argentine general, was a key leader in southern South America's struggle for independence from Spain. In 1817 he led a campaign across the Andes that led to the Chile's liberation.
The 8-cent multicolored San Martin stamps were perforated 11 and printed on the sheet-fed Giori press. The 288-subject sheets were cut into panes of seventy-two stamps each for distribution to post offices. Two plates were used: 26244 and 26249. Unlike previous 8-cent stamps in the series, the San Martin stamps required only a single plate to print a sheet of stamps.
William K. Schrage of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing modeled both the 4-cent and 8-cent San Martin stamps using a photograph of a bust of Jose de San Martin obtained from the Library of Congress. Matthew D. Fenton and John S. Edmondson engraved dies for both the 4-cent and 8-cent stamps.
Linn's World Stamp Almanac. Sidney, Ohio: Amos Press, 2000.