RECAPPING THE SOS 2018
Well, the 2018 Show of Shows, or should I say Super Outstanding Show, is “history” and it is definitely one for the books. If you didn’t get to make it to Louisville this year, please consider putting it on your “must do” list for 2019.
As always, there are a few different factors which make one year different from a previous year. The 2018 SOS was no exception. Once again it took place in one very big hall at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, KY.
When we walked in on Wednesday evening to set up I was amazed by the enormity of this massive hall. It looked weird to see 2,000 tables set up with nothing on them. Within three hours, the hall had been transformed into a bevy of dealers scurrying to get their booths set up in anticipation of the following three days of member and public activity. We had our usual select location on the left wall and had brought out our best stuff to put together a very professional display. Many who attend do appreciate our efforts. Be sure to look at the photos included in this report. I had just purchased two substantial collections so many of the items were “fresh”. If you see something you’d like, do not hesitate to ask.
Dave from our team beams as he helps with setup
There are always factors involved in determining the difference between a good show and a great show. So, what made this a great show for us? This year the show was held in conjunction with a gun show so this might have a bearing on the attendance. I did notice Saturday started off slowly so some people may have checked out the other show first before they made their way over to our section of the Expo Center. It is an enormous facility with miles of corridors.
I was amazed by the number of new customers we met at this show who said it was their first SOS and they came because they saw what I had written about the show. It goes to show that it pays to advertise. I can honestly say that everybody I met for the first time told me it was well worth their while and they would be back again.
Our new friend Shaun from South Africa
This year the weather was cooperative but more seasonal. There were rain showers and the threat of flooding was looming. My team’s 17-hour trek back to Massachusetts was a real adventure with heavy rains and high winds for part of the journey. We have to remind ourselves that it’s still February and Mother Nature is in control.
Just a little of we encountered on our return
Overall, in my opinion, attendance was very heavy on Friday and moderate to strong on Saturday as the day progressed. One factor is definitely the currency exchange rate. Numerous attendees come from all over the world to attend this show. In fact, many tell me if they are only going to select one show to attend per year, the SOS is their first choice. It would be accurate to say that the Euro, the British Pound, the Aussie Dollar and every other form of foreign currency was stronger than last year. Naturally, this plays a significant factor in the buying power of foreigners. As always, there are a number of foreign visitors at the show. They, along with many attendees, expressed a confidence in the overall economy and a positive outlook for what the future holds, not only for the world, but also for the hobby!
Having a great conversation with Mike D.
Once again, like last year, I had a good feeling about this show because a number of people had asked me to bring items to the show to look at. This did, in fact, happen and resulted in many sales (see photos) so I am a happy camper. Buying was, as always, very good, considering I never left my tables at all during show hours.
Richard R. with his beautiful Army General's visor cap
Catching up with our friend Kirk R.
David H. and his new acquisitions
Chris G. and his new camo
Tim H. picked up his new treasure, which is on the front cover of the book!
Some serious negotiations going on with some of our favorite customers
The organization, rules and regulations adhered to by the sponsor, which is the Ohio Valley Military Society, are fair and consistent, and this makes for a well-organized show. Once again, my helmet is off for all the hard work and dedication by the officers and volunteers. Officials from the show made it a point to stop by my tables, thank us for our support and tell us if we needed anything, they would do their best to accommodate us. Please take a minute to review the attached set rules regarding offensive materials at OVMS shows. Although, this does impact how I set up my tables, I agree with these policies. The future of our shows may depend on how we address these issues!
Virtually everybody I spoke with said they had a good show whether they were just attending or selling. I talked to a number of collectors who said they were able to find items from their most wanted list because the selection at the show is so varied.
One of the highlights for me was the opportunity to meet and interact with so many people who had previously purchased my book THE STORIES BEHIND THE TREASURES OF WORLD WAR II “The Making of a Collectorholic”, and the feedback is a tremendous motivation for me to continue to work hard on future volumes. I am now telling people that I hope to have Volume III available for sale by the time the SOS rolls around again next February 21st to February 23rd, 2019.
Audrey and I show off my book for her granddaughter
Once again, the icing on the cake for us was the privilege to sponsor a veteran at the show. Larry Eads of the OVMS does a great job coordinating this and we are proud to be a part of this effort to show our gratitude to these great Americans. There were 15 veterans in attendance ranging from WWII to “Desert Storm”. Each of the past four years we have sponsored a veteran. This year, it was 91-year-old James Baize who enlisted in the USN in 1943 by lying about his age. He told the recruiter he was 17 when in fact he was only 15. He volunteered for duty on board an aircraft carrier but ended up as a Coxswain on board a LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicles and Personnel). After landings at Saipan, Tinian and Guam, he found himself and his crew of two along with 38 Marines trying to land at Iwo Jima during the 2nd Wave. When he was 20 yards from shore, his LCVP sustained a direct hit from Japanese artillery and he found himself dazed and in the water. He was pulled to shore by a Marine he knew only as Jack and was given a full set of gear.
For the following seven days, he fought as an infantryman with the Marines. It had taken him eight weeks to become a sailor and only one hour to become a Marine! On February 23rd, 1945 he witnessed the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi which he related to us with a tear in his eye.
On the evening of February 26th, having fought for over a week under unimaginable, nightmarish conditions, he was part of a Marine group ordered to take the Number 1 airfield at Motoyama. The unit came under heavy machine gun fire and his buddy Jack was killed and he was knocked unconscious. He has no memory of ever leaving Iwo Jima when he woke up in the hospital days later. His recovery took six months and he learned he was the only survivor of that entire landing craft. Patrick and I had a wonderful time talking with this real live hero!
Patrick and Bill with our veteran Jim Baize