Hello again militaria enthusiasts!
Well, the great Show of Shows live blogging event was not quite the flurry of activity that I had hoped, but I was able to take some pictures and make some posts. As it turns out, the Verizon broadband card I employed for the task was having a bit of trouble in the expo center - sometimes it would work great, and other times it would chug along horribly slow. In addition, the battery on said laptop was under performing as well. I would have to go out into the foyer of the building to really get it to work in an acceptable fashion, and that meant leaving my colleagues to fend for themselves at our tables, which were constantly being visited by Manion's customers old and new.
At any rate, the Show of Shows military collector extravaganza was once again absolutely mind-blowing. I barely got any time to shop for myself. Of course I was there to work, but usually there is a bit of down-time where I can go out and look for items for my collection - this did not really happen this time around. We were BUSY. In addition to collecting a ton (literally) of consignment, we brought some interesting items (currently on the auction) for display and they really attracted a lot of attention. Especially the Luftwaffe M40 single decal helmet that had the original stamps and mailing address fixed to the front (see above pic). Apparently the WWII GI who scored the item just slapped the needed material on the front and dropped it off to be mailed out - imagine doing that today!
The Show of Shows is such a huge event you can walk down an isle twenty times and see something new on each trip. We were located right near the front, and at one point a gentleman came up to me and said that his nephew had a table there, and was wondering how he would find it. I tried to tell him that he needed to go get a program, look up his nephew's name or organization, then locate it on the floor plan. He wasn't interested in doing that and said he'd just wander around and would find him eventually. I wonder how that worked out for him?
I did come away with a couple of items: A copy of On the Ground: the Secret War in Vietnam, which I was fortunate enough to have signed by co-author John Peters, and a very cool french made, 1920s era, lithograph of a Doughboy sneaking across a WWI battlefield with a grenade in one hand and a Colt M1911 in the other. The lithograph was really the only thing that grabbed my attention throughout the entire event. I was walking down an isle, and caught it out of the corner of my eye, and walked right back to it. The vendor was very fond of it, too, and was enthusiastic that I shared the opinion. He made me a great deal and it is currently my favorite possession. I'll try to get a picture of it and post it at a later date.
In addition, I did get my well worn copy of Band of Brothers signed by three more WWII 506th PIR vets: Shifty Powers, Buck Compton, and Don Malarky. These guys are freaking rock stars at these events. Obviously they had no idea they would be so famous; they all seem to take it pretty graciously. They are always hosted by a top notch outfit called Valor Studios. For someone who loves militaria, Manion's is a perfect place to work, but I must say I am jealous of those folks. Check out their website, and make an investment in a historically important work of art.
Unfortunately, the 506th Vets didn't stay at the Executive Inn this year. Nothing quite like sharing a cold one with Earl McClung in the hotel bar. But being so spread out, the hotel doesn't exactly lend itself to a man in his 80s getting around expeditiously and they chose another accommodation.
Speaking of, the word was that this is the last year the hotel will be around. Apparently they are going to bulldoze it for much needed expo center parking. Personally I have mixed feelings. The place is rundown, I don't think anyone can argue with that, but there is something about that "Shining-esque" decor that you just don't find anymore. The hotel bar is quite a place, too. Imagine all of the deals that have been put together there over the years, if those walls could talk...anyway, my buddy Ben and I gave her an excessively appropriate send off Saturday night. So if you feel like you should have as well but didn't get the chance, rest assured we took care of it for you.
Here are some more pics from the show. So nice to see all of our old friends there, and a special thank you to all of our new consignors. We unloaded the truck this morning and have mountains of militaria to sort through. We are already underway processing them, and hope to get them up soon.
For those who couldn't make the event, we are going to do a special Show of Shows auction featuring all the consignment we collected at the event. Granted, it's a tiny fraction of all that was available, but we brought back some GREAT stuff and are happy to bring it to you. Stay tuned for more information!