​The ageless allure of stamp collecting

The passions of stamp collectors 07:25

No true philatelist would pass up an 1860s stamped Pony Express envelope, now valued at as much as $50,000. No wonder Rita Braver can find dedicated stamp collectors in all sorts of places:

Captain David Robinson not only loves piloting his tour boat down the waterways of Richmond. He also loves all things Virginia -- especially his stamps.

"I have some stamps here from the Confederacy," he said, showing off the first Confederate stamp with Jefferson Davis' picture on it.

He first started collecting at the age of 10. And what made him stick with it?

"Girls," he laughed. "I realized that I could make money buying and selling stamps. And the having of money translated into the geeky kid being able to get the girl."

Stamp collector David Robinson with correspondent Rita Braver. CBS News

He's been collecting ever since, and recently he made his biggest find ever.

But the story really begins in 1918, when the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in honor of the Jenny, a World War I-era biplane.

The stamp was red and blue, and on one sheet the blue was printed upside-down.

Those stamps are now worth millions, and far out of reach for people like David Robinson. But in 2013 the U.S. Postal Service decided to commemorate its most famous mistake, purposely issuing a new upside-down Jenny stamp.

And then the Postal Service did something really tricky:

"Shortly after announcing that they had printed 2.2 million of these sheets, they announced they printed 100 with the airplane right-side up," said Robinson. "All of a sudden the stamp collecting world was shaken upside-down."

Those became the ones to have -- and Robinson wanted one, badly.

He ended up spending almost $41,000 on 3,400 sheets, which come in sealed packets.

He opened the plastic envelopes slowly, to savor the experience. He savored that experience 2,900 times before finally striking gold -- finding a sheet of right side up Jennys.

And he made a modest profit when he sold it at auction for $45,000 to an anonymous buyer. "I beat the odds," he said.