The initial print run of the controversial Che Guevara stamp, which provoked strong criticism on social media, has sold out.

An Post has described the demand as "unprecedented".

The €1 stamp, which was released to mark the 50th anniversary of the revolutionary's death, went on sale last week with a run of about 122,000 stamps.

"It is necessary to now print extra stock to cover our regular stamp customers and makeup of annual collector products, stamp yearbook, etc," an An Post spokesperson said.

"It is anticipated that some additional stock will then be available for general sale."

The stamp features the famous image of 'Che' by Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick, which appears on T-shirts, posters, badges and clothing worldwide and is now rated among the world’s top ten most iconic images.

A prominent Cuban-American journalist had described An Post's decision to feature Che Guevara on the stamp as "objectionable".

Ninoska Perez of Miami 710 radio said that Che Guevara was considered a mass murderer and should not be honoured.

The Department of Communications said that the decision to issue the stamp had been approved by the government in 2015.

Ernesto 'Che' Guevara was born on 14 June 1928 in Rosario, Argentina.

His family were prosperous and had aristocratic roots, but had left-wing sympathies. His father was Ernesto Guevara Lynch, a civil engineer of Irish descent.

A quote from Guevara Senior features on a First Day Cover (FDC) envelope produced to accompany the stamp. It says "... in my son's veins flowed the blood of Irish rebels".

Che Guevara assisted Fidel Castro in overturning the Cuban government in the late 1950s. He then held key political offices during Castro’s regime.

He was executed by the Bolivian army on 9 October 1967.

With his death, and assisted by the popular artwork, Guevara the Marxist revolutionary went on to become a cultural icon.