'We did gangbusters here': After 83 years, American Philatelic Society Stamp Show returned to Omaha

Also busy was Don Tocher, 81, of Boulder, Colorado, who displayed a table of U.S. classic stamps and envelopes. Collectors have to be good detectives, he said, so finding flaws or anomalies that make items valuable was a good match for his engineer’s mind.

One letter in Tocher’s display had the distinction of combining a rare stamp and a rare cancellation marking. The 1869 stamp depicted Columbus landing at San Salvador, but it was unpopular with the public and discontinued after one year. Making the find more unusual was the fact that the stamp was affixed to an envelope that had a handwritten cancellation mark from Augur, Nebraska, in 1869. Augur, later Fort Omaha and now part of north Omaha, had a post office for only nine months, Tocher said. That makes the envelope and stamp worth several hundred dollars.

Tocher collected stamps as a child, he sidelined the hobby as he grew older. His interest reignited, however, because his father-in-law proved to be an avid stamp collector, a bit of a drinker and a bad poker player.

He paid (poker debts) in duplicates from his collection,” Tocher said. “I noticed that you could sell them and I peddled a few to get started.”