Trip to Chicago
I really don't write much anymore but will give my two cents about my to Chicago for the sword show.
The weather was cool and crisp and just danggum nice. There were a lot of .... hmmm.... what's the right word? Luminaries? Characters? Sword hustlers? Gentlemen? Well lets just say it is a diverse neighborhood Mark is the Mayor of in the Hotels basement.
I must confess that hanging around for 3 days while Chris B helps me out by finding a few unplanned slots for me does lead to Nihonto overdose as you browse everyones table over and over taking in all the hada and nioi ones eyeballs can handle. I remember Peter Bleed stating something to the effect that "My eyes have had it" after we did the shinsa school apprentice program offered on Saturday.
I wish I was rich
because on the first day there was a delightful couple in the back of the show. It was a boyfriend and girlfriend. They drove from Colorado with a whole collection of the widow's deceased husband.
(The future of many of our collections)
Nobody was there at their table, and there was polearms galore in the corner, and a table full of swords. These people did not look like your typical Nihontoya proprietors, and the pieces had fingerprints and whatnot.
I pull a long koto blade out with a long faint signature. "How much" I ask. " I don't know" he says. He tells me he is looking for help to price his Girlfriends dead husband's collection. (Where is Ray Singer when you need him to pull these people out of the tatara kiln?)
"Well I can't help you I say, I'm just a amateur and cannot give you good price estimates, but I am sure some of these guys will"
The next day I went back to see how things were going and the table was about bare. "Wow, you guys sold out!" The guy says they were cherry picked pretty good when Saturday rolled around. But they got the cash in hand I stated!
Friday, lots of covered tables, Where are all these sellers? Saturday, very busy at the tables for the bulk of the day. Sunday light crowd and sellers packing it up.
The Shinsa team worked very hard and it was interesting to hang around and watch them work. Also, watching some of the pros bring up tons of swords, right next to the guy who found his first authentic katana in shirasaya at a yard sale for $40 was really a joy to watch the interaction. "How would you like to double that" the pro says to the kid, and we all laugh.
I had thoughts about what to wear? Suit & tie? Shorts and flipflops? Jewelers glasses? Menuki earring? There were all of those extremes with most inbetween. If i were a young collector like Vlad, I'd go more formal as there seemed to be a lot of good looking airline attendants hanging around the lobby from Korean air. Sword guy Joe had the look down with a sport jacket and loose collar, no tie.
Mark and his family put on a fine show and were always there to make you feel part of the sword show family.
I think the only VIP missing was Stephen, somebody has to pick him up and bring him in next time. He can sign autographs on posting ichiman! NMB commemorative postcards are in order I do declare!