Exhausting, exhilarating and expensive. Bloody hell what an experience and I was only there for 2 days!
Firstly, I have to applaud Iain, Neil and Todd for not giving up in the face of extreme pressure and adversity and delivering a great GW Acrylic USA booth. It was a delight to walk up to the booth, after nipping off regularly on the vintage hunt, and come back to a melee of familiar and new faces. Once again thanks to everyone who supported the chaps - much appreciated as ever.
The show itself: Thursday morning was an absolute farce - bad enough to be cruel I'd say and thank the Lord it wasn't hotter outside (only about 26-27'c) as there would have been some medical emergencies in the queue if it had been 30+ as it had been the week before in Orlando. No Reedpop representatives anywhere, 2 mile queue, no water stations just 20-30,000 extremely fucked off SW fans including little children and some physical impaired fans (who should have been let straight in!). It was wrong and apparently all due to some over zealous security checks, one entrance policy and without doubt over-selling of tickets by the organisers - shameful.
Anyway, rant over - the good bits - meeting up with some SWFUK'ers on Friday at Red Lobster followed by the room sales - crazy experience. Some of the pieces available were proper top drawer: All kinds of Proofs, First Shots, cromalins, multipacks, QC pieces, MOC DTs, MOC VCJ, MOCs galore and everything in between. Prices...well they are all high these days but some where eye watering - especially to this Old Skool wallet. I did however manage to pay and collect on two pieces that were pre-arranged sales: an Italian 4-Pack and a 4-LOM FS Headpull (expect some pieces to be leaving my collection sometime soon!) Ridiculous prices but that's the vintage SW world we live in now. For example at the room sales: Ungraded (say C8+) MOC VCJ = $12k; AFA50 Trilogo Brown Snake Yoda = $350; Rancor box flat = $800; Some deals were to be had (see Grant's earlier post) early doors on Thursday from one particular Ma 'n' Pa stall but again as a taste, and I'm sure lots of you saw it posted on FacelessBook - a First Shot pink cape SquidHead sold on the first morning for total value (it was a cash and trade deal) for $15,000. An EP carded pink cape Leia Poncho (on Snowtrooper carback) was being offered for $22000, Jordan had an AFA 85 EB Certificate up at $14,000.... Money money MO money dominates our hobby nowadays and then you have Jez running for 52 miles in a Stormie outfit for charity - HOPE. Jez you are a true star mate!
The other main thing I spotted (oh I didn't even attempt to get into any of the panels or buy any 'exclusives'
) was the quality and quantity of SWAG being exchanged between the collectors. The efforts that some guys go to is incredible and to be highly commended from a creative POV. Personally I don't understand the whole SWAG-mania but can certainly appreciate the time, effort and money that some people clearly put in creating unique items to share with their collecting buddies.
From a personal SW collector's POV - I can't wait for the next FF because it's meeting your fellow collectors that really matters, would I travel back to the USA just for Celebration? Probably not but then again I'd probably regret not doing so - like seeing a piece of vintage at a great price and not buying it... don't need it but tinges of regret for not going for it! Every fan needs to experience Celebration at least once - it's our Mecca.
See you all in 2019!