As The Clash once asked, “Should I stay or Should I go?”
Being a successful collector must be able to deal with two collecting issues: Most have mastered the first: the ability to make decisions. The second issue that a successful collector must face is the ability to deal with disappointment.
In regard to decisions, this isn’t a tough issue for collectors to master. Unless funds are unlimited, a collector faces choices everyday. They must consider whether an item is worth the price and is it appealing enough to sustain or increase in value over time. (The latter is not important to all collectors. Take, for example, the Beanie Baby collector (BBC). During the mania of about 10 years ago, the die-hard BBC bought every new release regardless of the sustaining value of the item. It didn’t slow most down. Finally, over supply by the manufacture killed the market.)
The second issue that a successful collector must face is the ability to deal with disappointment. Personally, this is a very hard one for me. If I have been bidding on a significant WWI photo or Tank Corps items and lose it, I am distraught. Sometimes, the sickness is so bad, I question if I should collect at all. Over the years, I have learned to deal with the disappointment knowing that, in time, the same item — or a similar one — will come up for sale again.
Shockingly, the collector scene does not revolve around me or any other individual. Yet, the hobby is very “me-ocentric”. When I collect, I am focused on satisfying my own needs. My concern for other collectors, I am embarrassed to say, doesn’t stretch that far. Apparently, I am not the only one afflicted with this reaction!
“If I go there will be trouble...”
During the past few weeks, I have been inundated with calls, letters and emails from military vehicle collectors in Wisconsin and Minnesota who are distraught over a scheduling conflict between the Iola Military Vehicle Show and the Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) International Convention in August 2009. The vehicle collectors are dismayed that such a conflict could exist and have reacted from threatening boycott to simply hanging up in disgust.
(Just an aside before going on...Whereas I am flattered that folks think I have sway in the dealings of the Iola Old Car Show, Inc. (the owners of the Military Vehicle Show), the truth of the matter is I am located about 600 miles from their office and have precious little contact — let alone influence!)
The Iola Military Vehicle Show is my favorite MV show of the year. I am able to do a lot of my cover and calendar photography at the show, I know most of the vendors and reunite with many friends. However, the MVPA Convention is the top military vehicle event in North America.
I haven’t been able to decide which show I will attend.
“This indecision's bugging me..”
In my effort to decide my summer show schedule, I decided to ask some questions. I spoke with some MVPA directors and was reminded that in the larger collecting scheme, the conflict doesn’t impact a majority of the MVPA’s members. Folks in California, Alabama, Italy or Germany would not have been going to the Iola event no matter when it was scheduled, but they would go to the MVPA Convention whenever and where ever it was held. I can appreciate that. Whereas it smacks of “big business”, it does make good fiscal sense that the national convention take precedence.
Next, I contacted the Iola Old Car Show office. Below is an excerpt from the very friendly reply I received from Mary Schwartz, the event coordinator:
“I have had conversations with past participants, vendors on concerns about the show and conflicting dates with MVPA. Regrettably our 2009 Iola Vintage Military Show does fall on the same date as the National MVPA this year. When MVPA Convention was held in Minnesota, we changed our date. Now it happened again. The convention is on our event show date.”
We do have a problem with moving the date because of advance advertising that has been done and we also have signs as you enter Iola that informs the public of the event being held annually “2nd weekend of August”. Another dilemma for us is there are events going on in our area the two weekends before and two weekends after which then will give us problems with motel accommodations, spectators and volunteers.
We do know that this year might not be attended by many MVPA folks but we have to carry on and stay with what is scheduled and make the best of it. Sorry, it isn’t what you’re going to like to hear but we have appreciated your concern and support in the past and for the future.”
Mary’s comments helped me gain some perspective. Of course, I am not —nor is any other collector — going to change the schedule of a regional or national show. Especially this late in the game. Those kind of scheduling changes are made years before the event.
What is left to a guy like me are those two fundamentals: Making a decision and dealing with disappointment. The Clash probably said it better, “Should I cool it or should I blow?”
John ‘Strummer’ Adams-Graf
Editor, Military Trader and Military Vehicles Magazines