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The SOS (and shows in general) from a visor perspective

Article about: I have received multiple emails/pms asking me if I was going to the SOS, and if not why not. So, I decided to put my reasons on the forum (and my opinions are my own). I used to hit all the

  1. #1

    Default The SOS (and shows in general) from a visor perspective

    I have received multiple emails/pms asking me if I was going to the SOS, and if not why not.
    So, I decided to put my reasons on the forum (and my opinions are my own).

    I used to hit all the shows I could in the 70's, 80's and 90's. Now days I go to my local show, and hit the SOS once every 4 years. My reasons are pretty much what you have heard from others since the advent of the internet, so I will share my thoughts from a visor-collector perspective:

    1. Cost: It conservatively runs $1500 for the trip for airfare to Louisville; hotel room; rental car; meals; and "adult" beverages.

    2. Time away from work: It means 3 weekdays out of the office: travel (all day) on Wednesday; dealer set-up on Thursday; and hitting the show again on Friday.

    3. Show is practically over Wednesday night: yes, this is the night all the dealers get together and trade amongst themselves in their hotel/motel rooms with regard to the "good stuff". (It is definitely over for all intents and purposes by 6:00 Thursday);

    4. Travelling museums: When I hit the MAX or SOS, despite the passage of time (at least 3 years between shows) I will see the same people selling the same items with the same pre-Great Recession pricing.

    5. Internet: The stuff you see being sold at the show are the same items being sold on the internet--so, you have to ask, what is the point of flying 2000 miles +$1500 & 3 days out of work to buy the same hat you can have shipped to you for 20 bucks? (it is a rare day I hear of something popping up at a show that I didn't already know about before).

    6. Quality: most of the items at the show are stock that they could not unload elsewhere. The visors are generally average to above average condition. (there are some in excellent condition, but they are few and far between--and the truly mint visors even more so.)

    7. Fakes: They are there in spades (in fact, one of my primary reasons for going every 4 years is to see the latest and greatest in fakery).

    8. Weather: Lets face it, Louisville in February is miserable--it is either raining, sleeting or snowing (or a combination of all 3--thus ensuring you will be delayed flying in or out).

    9. Saturday: some dealers are already starting to pack up and leave. Sunday is a ghost town.

    10. Prices: Most sellers think its still 2007.
    Last edited by stonemint; 02-26-2015 at 02:50 AM.

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  3. #2


    Now, as a caveat, I think most new/younger collectors should try to make a show if they are serious about the hobby from an educational perspective, for where are so many visors (fake and real) going to be in one place? Examine as many as you can, both real and fake, so you can do a hands-on analysis.

    Further, if you are not looking for mint/rare visors, as stated supra, there are plenty of average/above-average condition visors. These generally do not sell on the first 2 days, and the dealers will negotiate, as they do not want to take home unsold inventory. As such, it is probably worth it to arrive on Saturday, and hang around on Sunday to get your best deal.

    Lastly, the social aspect cannot be understated--it is great to meet people you have only dealt with via email or pm's--there are a lot of great people in the hobby who are willing to help out.

    In any event, that is my .02 cents.....

  4. #3


    Chris your 100% correct. I and Bob S. usually do the 6 hour drive Friday morning. We walk around in the afternoon and leave Saturday morning.
    I go with very low expectations of finding anything. So for us it's not much of a problem.

  5. #4


    Quote by Karl S. View Post
    Chris your 100% correct. I and Bob S. usually do the 6 hour drive Friday morning. We walk around in the afternoon and leave Saturday morning.
    I go with very low expectations of finding anything. So for us it's not much of a problem.
    Right you are, Karl. I also believe that we both look for a "find" among the smaller dealers, or collectors with a table or two.
    I cannot argue with Chris's points about the SOS, but I DO look forward to it, with the hope that I find something I want, at a good price.
    The cavalry visor I bought last year was not on any website, and it was at a below market price. Hope springs eternal!


  6. #5


    Hello Chris - I live less than 2 hours from the SOS, and have to say, you nailed all the reasons for why I no longer get too excited for going. Since first few years of the 90's, I often never missed one . . . but for as far back as about ten years, this show has become a "if I make, I make it" kind of trip. The only thing I really miss, is the smell you get as you walk in the door, and all the crazy banter amongst old friends. The dynamics of collecting made some significant changes over the past decade . . . and perhaps, this is why things are the way you mention? Yes, I think some of the points you have brought to light, could be improved upon - and likely, would once again get me excited for making the trip the annual "Hoorah" it used to be . . . but I am happy to know, simply enough, that so much enthusiasm still exists for others - and for all of us, let's pray it never ends! My best of luck to all who are making the annual Pilgrimage this year - ewigen Jagd!

  7. #6


    Gents, I don't want to give anyone the idea that I am "down" on the hobby--it is just the shows are over-hyped, and the internet has made them pretty much obsolete. I agree, the best thing about the hobby is fellow collectors, and being able to interact with them--but $1500 and 3 days away from work is just too great a price to pay to just go there for socializing (especially since I am self-employed).

    I share in the excitement of someone's "stealth find" at a show--it does happen, but seems to get rarer and rarer each year.

    In any event, to those who are going, happy hunting, and hopefully you will be flashing your finds on the forum next week!

  8. #7


    This just in--the first pics from the SOS (& people wonder why I won't leave 75 degree temps for this!)
    (credit: Bob L)
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  9. #8


    I just got to my hotel room and after reading this I am going to go check out and wait at the airport for an early morning flight home.

    Nahhh lol.

    I completely understand Chris's reasoning for not going. This is only my second year and I'm still excited as hell. Last year at the show I found a twin to a helmet I already owned, so maybe that solidified my reasoning for going again this year. True, it's a lot of ordinary stuff you can find on any number of dealer websites, and the prices are stupid on some items, but I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie I experienced last year and the feeling of just never knowing what might show up. And while I understand the hotel room deals, it does kinda piss you off that stuff is trading hands without very one getting a fair chance to buy, but that ain't nothing new.

    As for the weather, I left home and it was in the 30's and it's in the 30's here so there's really no change at all.

  10. #9


    I am in town and ready to go. I missed the old days of collecting before the internet. I guess ignorance is bliss, in that respect. I have come up here every year since I found out about it. I can definitely see the sentiment of things losing their new, so to speak. Luckily the drive isn't that bad for me so its just a mini vacation. Also, I can't sleep right now, although I am tired. Can't wait to see what I leave with, and see what the high rollers of the forum score!

  11. #10


    My main problem is; I can't have any tooth problems during this days.......because my dentist is at the fair!
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!

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