This 8-cent stamp featuring the Statue of Liberty was the first stamp issued in the new 'ordinary series' on April 8, 1954. It was unique because it was the first bi-colored definitive in a denomination under 1-dollar, and it was the first definitive issue to carry the words “In God We Trust.”
The 8-cent Liberty was produced both on the rotary and flat plate presses, and both versions were released on the same day. Four years later, Postmaster Arthur Summerfeld announced a third version of the stamp, to be released on March 22, 1958, printed on the new Giori press. The Giori could print a two-color stamp with a single pass through the press. The earlier stamps printed on both the rotary and flat plate presses required a separate feed through the press for each color. The earlier issues all had two plate numbers, one for each color, while the 1958 Giori-printed issue has only one plate number.
On the 8-cent Liberty, the torch is slightly dropped and the wording “U.S. Postage” is no longer broken by the torch.
The stamp was designed by Charles R. Chickering, and four different engravers were responsible for frame, the lettering, and the Statue of Liberty. The first day of issue ceremony was heralded by the Post Office Department as “the biggest ceremony of its kind in the history of the United States Post Office Department. . . ." Further, "It will set the stage . . . for the introduction of the nation’s first regular stamp bearing a religious significance.” The twenty-minute ceremony was covered on a unique national television hook-up throughout the forty-eight states.
It was considered a particular point of pride by the Post Office Department that this stamp would be used primarily to send letters abroad, eight cents being the one-ounce rate for international letters. “It will be our postal ambassador,” Postmaster General Summerfeld noted.
Issuance of the original 8-cent stamp with the “In God We Trust” motto preceded establishment of those words as a national motto by over two years. Public Law, 851, was approved by Congress July 30, 1956.