By: Peter Suciu
Lead photo: The Ohio Valley Military Show is nearly 2,000 tables of "militaria" from old helmets to uniforms and, of course, small arms.
Each February, the Ohio Valley Military Society pulls out all the stops to host its annual Show Of Shows – an event that more than lives up to its name. Held at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, it isn’t actually a gun show, but rather a nearly 2,000 table event focused on military collectibles ranging from uniforms to helmets to medals and so much more.
For military small arms enthusiasts, however, there is plenty to see, and if you have enough money, you can always take home that treasure for the collection. This year was especially notable in that some particularly impressive firearms were offered for sale.
Here is a rundown of the best in Show Of Shows:
A World War I German MG08 with the original sled mount was considered one of the big finds at this year’s show. (The MG08 was deactivated per BATF guidelines)
An original muzzle brake from a World War II Tiger I tank sold at the show for a reported $3,000 – making for an expensive but so impressive display item.
An early Russian Maxim 1910 machine gun (also deactivated per BATF guidelines) on the Sokolov mount made for another notable display at the show.
A pair of Vietnam War "bring backs" – including a deactivated Soviet RPD and an AKM – the latter has been converted to semi-automatic.
A trio of firearms not typically seen at your average gun show. These include a German-produced 98K used by Egypt (bottom); an Egyptian Rasheed carbine (middle); only about 8,000 of these were produced; and an Iraqi Al-Kadesih (top), and a "Dragunov" -style rifle based on the SVD and PSL designs.
To diverge from firearms, attendees to the show could take in various ethnographic melee weapons as well as a medieval crossbow (left side of the photo). There is truly a world of treasures at Show Of Shows.
The author’s good friend Gus Bryngelson scored with his find of the show – an original German MP18 submachine gun (deactivated). Introduced at the end of the First World War, this was the first successful SMG to be employed in combat. Behind Gus to his left in the photo is also a Volunteer Enterprises Commando Mark III .45 ACP Carbine – a commercial "clone" of the Thompson submachine gun.
A non-functional Soviet 9M14 Malyutka (NATO reporting name: AT-3 Sagger) – a man-portable, wire-guided anti-tank guided missile. These are rarely seen even in museums, let alone offered for sale!
Collector Dennis Keese picked up something a little different but equally special. It is a 1942 dated Continental American guitar, one of the few "consumer" goods produced during the Second World War in the United States. We only hope Dennis plays some patriotic music on it!
As noted above, all the machine guns were deactivated per BATF guidelines.
Peter Suciu is a freelance writer based in Michigan. Contact him at [email protected].