Another reason I like gun shows is that they provide some price validation. For example, I've been looking for an early 1911 - 2nd & 3rd year production (mfg-1912 is just to expensive for me). So, at the last gun shows I saw several ranging from 1914 - 1918. One guy was asking $2,300 for a year-1918 Commercial; very little bluing left. I asked him "how much" he said his price and explained that he knew it was quite high, but asked me to make a counter. Given the condition I might have offered in the $1,000 range, but that wouldn't have been perceived well by the seller, and I'm not looking to get into a haggling war of make someone feel bad about their gun, so I said "I'll think about it" and just walked away.
What this did, however, is tell me what folks are wanting to get to part with these early 1911's. Sure, I've been scouring gunbroker and other sites checking prices. But, seeing one in person while talking to the owner, getting his thoughts and impressions on where he might be willing to part with the gun, was valuable to me. So, when I found a 1911 mfg-1913 in fairly decent condition (still waiting delivery) for $1,200, I snapped it up. It's probably a fair price for what it is in today's market, but next year it will be a 100 year old 1911, and I will appreciate it that much more. Yes, I'm a bit of a freak about manufacturing dates and 1st production runs - it's just my thing.