Now that we are on the way home from the show, here are my post-show thoughts and opinions.
Based on my impressions, attendance was way up from what I remember in past years. A number of times the aisles were packed and I had to squeeze through. The lines to get in the door each day were quite long, and there were few lulls where no one was at or passing my table. I spoke with a number of other dealers who agreed with this. There were several other shows going on at the KEC this weekend that may have helped SOS attendance a bit.
I felt that there was more US material than in past years and as a result only made it through the show entirely roughly twice, compared to previous times where I could do several more times. There were fewer non-US tables to just skip by. This morning at breakfast some German collectors asked me if I believed there was more US represented at the show because they felt they had to skip more US tables to get to what they were looking for.
Similar to other shows, items priced well sold and those that werent didnt. As expected, a number of dealers had the same items/prices that I recall from years prior that sit on the tables and gather dust. US groupings from WWII, ETO painted A-2 jackets, and medals seemed to do well. There were a LOT of WWII US uniforms at the show and most dealers couldnt give away common ones. I saw many Ike jackets with ribbons, patches, collar brass, etc sit unsold on the last day for $30-45. On the flip side, I noticed a number of really nice, but similar AAF uniforms with bullion that were priced through the roof and remained unsold at the end. One dealer at 2:00 PM on the last day remarked to me that he was confused as to why he didnt sell anything during the show. He had some truly top shelf US groups, but they were priced roughly 2.5 times full retail value.
There were quite a few tables that had nice items but no prices in sight. On three occasions (once to me and twice to friends), and with three different dealers, when asked a price on an item, the response given was Its expensive or Do you have any money? At some of these tables, the dealer was gone and the table helper either had no idea on the price or was unable to contact the seller.
The dealers that did well were apparent as the inventory on their table continuously changed and eventually shrank, and were clearly there to negotiate and sell things.
The attendees of the show are indeed getting older and more immobile, but I also saw a huge influx of young (15-30s) collectors walking the show as either a member of one day attendee. Some told me they had never been to the SOS before and would absolutely be back next year.