Man for the job
Volume 56, Number 8, September 2018
Convention Call HAVING recently returned from Denver and the annual Orders and Medals Society of America (OMSA) Convention, I would like to use this month’s comment as an appeal. To be honest OMSA was not a great success this year. It was wonderful to see so many old friends and the social aspect of the trip was, as ever, excellent—but from a business perspective? It wasn’t great. The reason it wasn’t great is simple: there weren’t enough people there. I was told that there were 102 registered to attend but that there had been a number of cancellations in the two weeks prior to the event, which left, I believe, fewer than100 attendees. Yes, a fair few came in on the “public” Saturday, but for the preceding two days, with the bourse opening early and closing at 5.00pm, less than 100 people wandering around meant that there were times when most table holders simply had nothing to do. Of course, a convention is more than just a medal fair and, as ever, there were some wonderful seminars—of particular note were the talks by Oliver Pepys of DNW on the subject of the forerunners to the George Cross, Norman Gooding on his favoured subject of women, or at least medals awarded to them, and Nathan Weiss who spoke about the Order of St Michael and St George. But social gatherings and seminars couldn’t hide the fact that the Convention was a shadow of what it once was and the murmurings around the hotel were all of “whither now?” On the Saturday evening at the dinner, acting President Bill Brown made an impassioned request that all current members of the Society try to encourage new members to join by buying them a digital subscription priced at just $19.95; this will give them an electronic version of the Society’s journal as well as allow them to attend Convention. I would echo that plea now. If you are a member of OMSA and you know someone who you feel would benefit from joining the Society then visit www.OMSA.org and buy them a digital subscription—in the great scheme of things it will cost you very little and could go a long way to securing the future of a Society that will suffer in the long term unless something is done. Then all you have to do is convince these new members that they should attend Convention. Next year it is to be held at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott in Houston, Texas. It is a lovely hotel that we last visited back in 2007, so there can be no complaints about the venue (I do wonder if the choice of Denver Airport put people off this year—it wasn’t the most salubrious of hotels) and once again we hope to attend. I urge all of you Stateside to do the same. In two years time OMSA will be held in Orlando so all of you on this side of the pond with families can tyake them too—they can go to Disney, etc., whilst you go to the bourse! On the subject of Conventions, don’t forget it is the Orders and Medals Research Society Convention (OMRS) at the Nottingham Conference Centre on September 14–16 and, once again, I urge you to attend if you can. There have been grumblings about the move east this year after the success of the last couple of years at Stratford, but then there were grumblings when the move to Stratford was first mooted and now people seem desperate to stay there, thus once again proving you cannot please all of the people all of the time. Personally, I think Nottingham is an excellent venue, it has better transport links than Stratford, is central enough to appeal to collectors and dealers from all parts of the country and has the excellent Nottingham Castle to visit for the Sherwood Foresters Collection, or at least so I thought. With impeccable timing the Castle has just closed for a huge £30 million revamp! Ah well! One of the main gripes about the move seems to be that the bourse and exhibits will be in a different venue to the hotel. But as Norman Gooding so eloquently pointed out to me at OMSA, the walk from his room at the OMSA “Convention Hotel” in Denver to the bourse (under the same roof) was actually far further than it is from the official OMRS hotel (the Crowne Plaza in Nottingham) to the Conference Centre. And besides, up until the event moved to the Holiday Inn in Bloomsbury four years ago, it was ALWAYS in a location away from the official hotel, whether in Pickett’s Lock, the New Connaught Rooms or the BMA, Tavistock Square, and was always a success, so the complaint about different venues doesn’t really seem to hold water. This being the case, please do try to attend if you can. As I mentioned in the “Comment” last month, I know there are many of you who don’t attend fairs, but Convention is different, it is so much more than just a medal fair and I for one would hate to be sitting here in five years’ time worrying about its future. For more details visit www.OMRS.org and we’ll see you in Nottingham.
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