Showcasing History: Fishers resident Dennis Adams collects military chevrons
By Anna Skinner
Dennis Adams has collected military insignia since he was 10 years old. The 64-year-old Fishers resident has more than 2,000 different chevrons in his collection.
“Most people who collect militaria are history buffs, and militaria spreads the gamut from military weapons to uniforms to insignia to equipment,” Adams said. “Anything used by the military is collectible. I started when I was a kid. My dad gave me one of his chevrons when he was in the Army, and back then, you could go to yard sales and do odd jobs for the neighbors and they’d give you souvenirs from World War II and other various things.”
Adams travels to local shows to purchase chevrons and sell duplicates. He created a binder catalogue all of his chevrons after he accidentally purchased a chevron he already owned.
“In 1973, I joined the Army and kind of put (my collection) away for awhile, and a few years later picked it up again,” Adams said. “I used to collect anything I could get my hands on military wise, but eventually the cost became too high, so I specialized in chevrons. I collect military insignia, specifically U.S. Army chevrons which are enlisted rank insignia.”
The average chevron costs $20 to $30. Adams’ most valuable chevron is from the Civil War and costs between $500 and $700. Chevrons are more expensive if they are in mint connection.
“Some collectors like them worn, what they call salty, because they want things that soldiers actually used in war,” Adams said. “But I like mint condition. If you look at postage stamps as a collection, you’ve got used postage stamps that are not worth very much, and mint postage stamps worth well more than face value.”
Adams estimates his collections is worth approximately $50,000. There are many variations of chevrons. During war, the military sometimes commissions overseas merchants to create chevrons.
Adams will be at the Greater Indianapolis Militaria Show-Annex event at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 25 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 26 in the O.V. Winks building selling approximately 1,000 to 2,000 of his spare chevrons. The event is open to the public.
“I will have two tables, and I will have about 1,000, maybe 2,000, chevrons extra that I sell,” Adams said. “Collectors come and buy them, and veterans come in and say, “I was this during Vietnam, do you have that chevron?’ Newer chevrons from Vietnam on don’t sell for much money. I’m just happy to almost give them away so veterans can have something from his or her service.”
Adams said he attends approximately four shows a year.
Adams does not deal in chevrons from America’s World War II enemies, Germany and Japan.
“Militaria people collect to study the history, not to glorify the Third Reich or Japanese Empire or any other foreign military we’ve ever fought,” Adams said. “Some people make that mistake that people who collect that stuff are racist or want to go back to that era.”
For more on the militaria event, visit hamiltoncofairgrounds.com.
American Society of Insignia Collectors Trading Post
Dennis Adams is working with the ASMIC Trading Post editor to index and digitize each edition for the magazine. The project is nearly finished.
“Every article, every picture of every insignia we have published, every inquiry I have indexed in a spreadsheet and now have it in a website,” Adams said. “People can go in there and query the index and (search) your grandfather’s old unit, and any article or insignia will pop up.”
For more, visit asmic.org.