Ireland’s An Post recently issued a €1 stamp to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara.
The initial print run of 122,000 stamps depicting the infamous portrait of the Marxist revolutionary sold out shortly after its Oct. 5 release date. Designed by Red&Grey and based on artwork by Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick, the stamp measures 29.8 mm by 40.6 mm. A first-day cover (FDC), which has also since sold out, was also issued by An Post.
Guevara de la Serna was born on June 14, 1928 in Rosario, Argentina. His family was prosperous and had aristocratic roots but with left-wing sympathies. His father was Ernesto Guevara Lynch, a civil engineer of Irish descent. A quote from Ernesto features on the FDC: “… in my son’s veins flowed the blood of Irish rebels.”
Ernesto “Che” Guevara—described as a “quintessential left-wing revolutionary” by An Post’s press materials—was killed in South America in 1967. His image, which appears on t-shirts, posters, badges and clothing worldwide, is now rated among the world’s top 10 most iconic images, according to the postal service.
Guevara studied medicine before travelling around South America, where he observed conditions that spurred his Marxist beliefs. He eventually assisted Fidel Castro in overturning the Cuban government in the late 1950s before holding key political offices during Castro’s regime.
While engaged in guerrilla action in Bolivia, Guevara was arrested and subsequently executed by the Bolivian army on Oct. 9, 1967.
“With his death and assisted by the popular Jim Fitzpatrick artwork, Guevara the Marxist revolutionary, went on to become a cultural icon,” reads a statement issued by the postal service.
Despite the commemoration, some people consider Guevara a mass murderer who’s undeserving of Ireland’s philatelic honour.
“It is my belief that he is most definitely not a suitable candidate for such an honor,” Neale Richmond, a member of Irish governing party Fine Gael, wrote in a letter to Ireland’s communications minister following An Post’s release of the Guevara stamp.