Well, the 2017 Show of Shows is “history” so to speak but it is one for the books and I can’t wait to tell you about it. Each year there are a few different factors which make this one different from a previous event. The 2017 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 all the goodies to put together a very professional display which, many who attend, do appreciate. Be sure to look at the collection of photos throughout this report.
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 was the second year in a row when the show wasn’t held in conjunction with a gun show so one would think that might have a bearing on the attendance. Once again, I had a bunch of people tell me that they liked it better this way because attendees could spend more time at our show and not be concerned about what they were missing at the gun show.
This year the weather was very cooperative for the duration of the show, including my team’s 18-hour trek from Massachusetts. The short sleeve weather was very nice and temperatures were a balmy 60-70 degrees in Louisville. In fact, the temperature reached 81 degrees on Friday. Saturday, the temperature returned to the 40s. The guys did hit some snow and black ice on the trip home on Saturday night and Sunday during the day.
Overall, in my opinion, attendance was very heavy on Friday, and moderate to strong on Saturday. Another factor is still 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 conservative to say that the Euro, the British Pound, the Aussie Dollar and every other form of foreign currency still sucks. Naturally, this plays a major factor in the buying power of foreigners. However, I was really surprised to see the 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 the hobby!
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. There was a significant increase from the previous year and this generally results in more sales. This did, in fact, happen so I was a happy camper. Buying was, as always, very good, considering I never left my tables except to use the little boys room.
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. Several of the officials from the show made it a point to stop by my tables, thank us for our support and made it a point to tell us if we needed anything, they would do their best to accommodate us.
Virtually everybody I spoke with said they had a good show whether they were just attending or setting up. 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 of my show 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 was a tremendous motivation for me to continue to work hard on future volumes. I am now telling people that I hope to have Volume II available for sale by mid-summer.
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 17 veterans in attendance ranging from WWII to Vietnam. Each of the past three years we have sponsored a different veteran. This year we broke with that tradition and once again sponsored Dick Cole who was Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot on the historic raid which became known as “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo”. He actually asked for us and who am I to refuse a young and chipper 101-year-old. Yes, you read that correctly. We were privileged to spend some quality time with him, his daughter, niece and Wes, his director of security. My team was absolutely in awe of being in this man's presence. He is truly a national treasure!
Now that the OVMS is in charge of the MAX show, running from October 5-7th, 2017, there are even more advantages to becoming a member of this vibrant club. Membership gets you into both shows free, and earlier than the general public. Please consider joining up by going to their website. Tell them I sent you!