1958 8¢ Simón Bolívar
Champions of Liberty
Issue Date: July 24, 1958
City: Washington, D.C.
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Giori Press
Color: Carmine, ultramarine, and ocher
This stamp commemorates Simón Bolívar, who was nicknamed the “George Washington of South America. Bolívar was the second subject featured in the “Champions of Liberty Series.” He is pictured on U.S. #1111, produced by Giori press in carmine, ultramarine, and ocher with 11-gauge perforation. Bolívar is also pictured on U.S. #1110, produced by rotary press with a 10 ½ x 11-gauge perforation.
Simón Bolívar was the most powerful man in South America in 1825. For over 20 years, Bolívar worked tirelessly to liberate its lands. Through a series of battles, Bolívar invaded and took over Merida, Caracas, and Venezuela, at which point he was proclaimed El Libertador.
In 1826, believing his goal was near, Bolívar called the Congress of Panama to meet in the first hemispheric conference. Many leaders did not agree with his dictatorial policies, and a number of separatist movements began. A civil war quickly erupted. Following a failed assassination attempt, Bolívar resigned in 1828, and died two years later.
Champions of Liberty
In 1957, the Post Office Department issued a stamp honoring Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay as a “Champion of Liberty.” Magsaysay’s stamp marked the beginning of a 10-stamp series honoring non-Americans who fought for freedom in their homelands.
After Magsaysay’s single commemorative stamp was issued, the rest of the series had two stamps printed for each subject – one in a single color, and one with three colors. The pairs were also of different denominations. The series was issued from 1957 to 1961. It featured Ramon Magsaysay, Simón Bolívar, Lajos Kossuth, José de San Martín, Ernst Reuter, T.G. Masaryk, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Gustaf Mannerheim, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and Mahatma Gandhi.
Giori Press Added Color
In 1955, the Post Office Department acquired a new stamp press designed by Gualtiero Giori. Called the “Giori Press,” the new machine could produce stamps in two or three different colors, all in one pass. Different rollers each applied a different color.
The new press began producing stamps in 1957, with U.S.# 1094, the American Flag. It soon was used on the Champions of Liberty stamps. In 1962, the press was used for a secret project – some speculated that it was making money. Instead, the result was the “Project Mercury” stamp (U.S. #1193), printed in secret even among Post Office employees.
The stamp was shipped in sealed packages to over 300 postmasters across the country, with strict instructions not to open it until instructed. The secrecy was dependent upon the success of John Glenn’s historic space flight orbiting Earth – if the mission had failed, the stamp would not have been released.