Message from the President March 2010

The Excitement is Building for Louisville!

By Brian Pitman, March 2010

Every year I get the pleasure of trying to explain to all of you why THIS year’s convention is the one you should plan to attend. Probably 10% to 20% of our members attend our annual convention, and the rest of you miss out. There are many reasons NOT to attend a carnival glass convention. These include cost (we are definitely in some of the craziest economic times in the history of the “modern” world), lack of understanding what the big deal is, other commitments, or an overall dislike for anything considered “fun” by many. Trust me, I have been in each of those seats before. In the end, though, I was dragged to one of these things, and my life has been so much better for it.

This year, though, is going to be even easier for me to convey why you should attend. There is something for everyone. And so, let’s look at all the various types of people in our club, and I will give you true and compelling reasons to attend.

First of all, we have the group of people who are into carnival glass as a way to make money, either through buying and selling (or dealing) carnival glass, or investing in it for a period of time to enjoy, and then sell at a modest profit. There are many reasons for you to attend this convention. First of all, there will be a crowd of attendees who are looking to buy carnival glass, either from you or others or auctioneers. Sure, you can sell glass via the internet, but the people here will have cash and a desire to buy. Why WOULDN’T you be at the convention? The next reason for you to attend is for the deals. You can always find glass cheaply at a convention. Sometimes it is in the rooms. Sometimes it is part of a midnight auction. Sometimes it is in the regular auction. And sometimes, you could win it in a contest. That glass can be “flipped” for a nice profit pretty easily if you know what you are doing. Finally for you, putting in face time at a convention is the best way for people to get to know you (we call it “networking” in the professional world), and if they feel they know you, chances are they are more willing either to buy from you, or bid on your glass when it is up for auction.

Hey, let’s be honest: carnival glass prices are falling in some categories simply because people aren’t doing the networking that occurred in the past. The top dollar stuff seems to do VERY well in auctions, even in the bad times. Why? Well, look at whose glass it is, and you ALWAYS see them at the conventions, don’t you?

Okay, the next group: education junkies. You are the people who don’t want to spend the money to attend the convention unless you feel you are really getting something meaningful out of the deal. No problem. Our convention has plenty of educational opportunities for you, some scheduled and many not. We have seminars (including an amazing display room of Peacock-oriented pieces which features an educational seminar from Tom Mordini that will be off the hook). We have many times when groups of us (some call them “cliques” whereas I prefer to think of them as “study groups” because everyone is totally invited to be in one or all of them) just chill out around the tables in the common area of the hotel (usually by the pool or the Holidome) and talk about recent auctions, prices, pieces we have seen, wisdom we have learned and more. These “interactive study sessions” (some call them “bull sessions”) have been incredibly helpful to me in learning patterns, prices, price trends, who has what and more. They can be for you as well.

And again, a moment of honesty. You can sit online, reading excellent sites like, Carnival Glass 101 and others, all while browsing the latest Carwile/Edwards encyclopedia. This tends to make you think you know it all (we call it “being a Eugene”). But real education is learned in the trenches (hotel rooms) of the battlefields (conventions) worldwide (ICGA). You want to know more, and no one wants to be a Eugene.

And now, to those of you who are all about the food (yep, I am in this group). You only attend things if you get copious amounts of food and drink for some crazy low price (in other words, you want it to be free.) You frequently don’t attend the amazing business luncheon we have planned, or the great Banquet Buffet on Friday night (because the luscious lunch is $17.50 per person and the boffo buffet is $29 per person). You will, however, make it to the FREE ice cream social (that usually runs a few extra nights with this crowd because we bring in huge amounts of ice cream and goodies). You will also make it to the FREE hospitality suite. This year we wanted it to be even better. In recent years it was run by Ann McMorris, but we felt this convention was going to be so darn good, we had to double down on the hospitality suite. I asked Ann who she felt would be able to provide DOUBLE the service, DOUBLE the food and DOUBLE the fun. She, of course, said “Ron and Bert DOUBLER!!” And so, the Doublers will be gracefully manning the 24/7 smorgasbord for us this year (and again, Huge Thanks to Ann for her amazing work for ICGA!)

Honesty on the food thing? You really SHOULD go to the lunch and banquet, simply because our food has been great the past five or six years. As a food-lover myself, I hate paying to attend a banquet or lunch and the food sucks. Ours doesn’t. And frequently, people are seen being rolled out of the banquet room when it is done because they simply cannot move.

Now for you excitement junkies. You only like to attend events that get the blood running, the heart pumping, the adrenaline going. I understand. There have been some non-ICGA conventions I attended where the only excitement was trying to escape the clutches of Lloyd Ward and his roomful of amazing treasures when I had no cash to spend. Not so at this year’s convention. We have a huge amount of pulse increasers at our convention. First, the hotel we are at this year also has a WATER PARK. If you needed a reason to bring the kids or grandkids, this is it. We also have some Tuesday night hijinks planned for those early birds who want some early fun. And also, we have a little thing called an auction. This auction, though, is not the normal carnival glass auction. This auction is the collection of Ruth and John Phillips (no, not the guy from the Mamas and the Papas.) This auction is full of high-dollar items that Ruth bought out from under many of you at auctions in the past few decades. Some of you are still angry you lost these pieces to her. Now is your chance for revenge. Now you can have the last laugh. Now you can buy those pieces and THERE IS NOTHING SHE CAN DO ABOUT IT! She will sit there helplessly as you bid on and win these pieces, allowing you to take them to their rightful home to be in your collection for a very long time to come. Watch tears come to Ruth’s eyes as you outbid someone on the pieces you always knew were yours!

Honesty time. Over the past couple of decades, Ruth has angered more than just you by whipping you on the auction field. The army of vanquished bidders against her over the years is enormous. This army will be in attendance at this convention. They also want to buy the pieces you want to buy (because frequently Ruth would spank more than just you with every piece she bought). You have to come prepared. You have to be ready to run that bid right on up until Jim Seeck says “Sold!” while pointing his Iowa finger at you. You have to be a Ruth Phillips to get the pieces you deserve.

And so, the excitement around this convention is building. There truly are so many reasons to attend. Check out the registration form included with this issue of the Pump, then fill it out and send it in. We can’t guarantee you will win all the pieces you want or that you will sell thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of carnival glass, but we can promise that you will be treated outstandingly, that you are absolutely wanted at this convention, and that you will have an unbelievably good time. Guaranteed.

I’ll see you in the buffet line at the convention.