- Issue date: 12/03/2012
- Printing Process: Offset
- Paper: Estucado, engomado, fosforescente
- Size of stamp: 28,8 x 40,9 mm. (vertical)
- Sheet effects: 50
- Postal value of the stamps: 0,85 €
- Print run: 300.000 sellos
- Dented: 13 ¾
The Royal and Military Order of San Fernando is the oldest and highest Spanish military award. It was set up by decree of the Cortes of Cádiz in 1811 and endorsed by Fernando VII in 1814.
Over the past two hundred years this prestigious decoration has been conferred to members of the Armed Forces in recognition of their courage and heroism in crucial moments. Over the years and in order to avoid the extinction of the Laureates, changes have been gradually introduced in the regulations to adapt them to the social reality whilst maintaining the foundations on which the award was created. After the enactment of the current Constitution of 1978 and the introduction of changes in the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces, the new regulation comes more in line with the world we live in.
In 2001 came into force the new regulations of the Royal and Military Order of San Fernando aiming at: "Honouring the virtue of heroic courage resulting in exceptional or extraordinary actions whether they be individual or collective, but always serving to the benefit Spain" These actions will be considered when they occur during military intervention or when participating in international missions under the mandate of international organizations or Alliances of which Spain is a member.
The King of Spain is the sovereign of the Order of San Fernando and its mission is to preside over it and issue the royal decrees of military awards.
The prestige and importance of the awards are guaranteed by the rigorous standards required for initiating a dossier. The highest category is the Grand Cross Laureate, reserved for Army officers. Next in importance is the Laureate Cross, accessible to the military or civilian personnel in the accomplishment of actions or exceptional services. Other awards include the Laureate Collective, the Military Individual Medal and the Military Collective Medal.
The stamp depicts the Laureate Cross of San Fernando, consisting of four swords joint together at the knobs of the handles and surrounded by a laurel wreath.