The Post Office Department honored Ernst Reuter (1889-1953), mayor of Berlin, with two stamps issued on September 29, 1959. He was the fifth person featured in the Champions of Liberty series that honored men who fought for freedom in their homelands and offered a counter point 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, with a simultaneous ceremony held in West Berlin.
An announcement issued by the POD on May 19, 1959, provided information about Reuter. It read, "After being persecuted and imprisoned by the Nazis, [Reuter] went into exile abroad. Returning to Germany immediately after World War II ended, he worked tirelessly to establish free democracy and rebuild his city out of rubble. It was his courage and leadership that inspired the people of Berlin to stand up successfully under the strain of the Soviet blockade."
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing printed the 8-cent multicolored Reuter stamps, perforated 11, 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: 26464 and 26466.
Charles R. Chickering of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing modeled both the 4-cent and 8-cent Reuter stamps, using a photograph of Reuter furnished by the Post Office Department for inspiration. Richard M. Bower, Howard F. Sharpless, and Robert J. Jones engraved the dies for both stamps.
Linn's World Stamp Almanac. Sidney, Ohio: Amos Press, 2000.