Mc Pheeters Antique Militaria
Home Page About Us Ordering Information Links



US ARMY DISTINCTIVE INSIGNIA (DI) DIE SET – PRE-WORLD WAR TWO 25TH INFANTRY REGIMENT – RARE COMPLETE SET FOR A HISTORIC UNIT:  One of the most unique US Army Insignia related items I’ve seen in some time, this Distinctive Insignia (DI) die stamping set was recently found in an old San Antonio, Texas estate.  How it came to be in this elderly man’s possession is unfortunately lost to history, but that it survived intact is amazing in and of itself.   

This die set most likely dates from before World War Two, determined by the history of the unit and the circumstances of the war.   

During World War Two the manufacture and wearing of the DI’s was suspended due to the shortage of metals deemed necessary for the war effort and the lack of manufacturing resources as the work shops turned to more war critical requirements.   

This set was for producing the DI’s for the 25Th Infantry Regiment, one of the famous “Buffalo Soldier” Black regiments created in 1866 after the Civil War.  After a long and illustrious history, to include service during WWII, the regiment was deactivated at Camp Stoneman, California on February 3, 1946 and their colors were officially retired in 1949.  With the unit no longer on the active list, it is doubtful the manufacturer would have invested in producing more insignia for the unit after 1946.   

With the suspension of manufacturing of the DI’s during the war, and the deactivation of the regiment immediately after the war, it reasons that this die set was produced and in use prior to the onset of World War Two, making it an early set.   

The die set includes a maker’s stamp that reads “A. H. DONDERO, WASHINGTON, D.C.”.  A.H. Dondero, Inc. was started in 1922 by Colonel A.H. Dondero, a retired Quartermaster Corps officer.  Recognizing the need for quality uniforms and insignia, he manufactured and distributed officer uniforms, uniform accessories, distinctive unit insignia and all most any uniform item that an officer would need during his tour of duty. Col. Dondero’s original show room and tailor shop was located on Pennsylvania Avenue, one block away from the White House. Some of his more notable military clients included General John J. Pershing, General Douglas McArthur, General George C. Marshal, Admiral Hap Arnold, officers of all ranks and even some foreign governments personnel from 1922 until the mid-1970's.  In 1960 A.H. Dondero, Inc. moved its  operations to Glebe Road in Arlington, Virginia and in 1976 the company refocused its efforts to the production of recognition and awards for the general public.  

This set is in excellent condition and consists of one large anvil bearing the reverse, or “female” detailed image of the DI for the 25TH Infantry Regiment; two die stamps cut to the profile of the DI; two matching die cutting plates with corresponding cutouts that match the die stamps; and one maker’s stamp.  The anvil and the two cutting plates all bear the same production number, “3082”.  The side of the large anvil is stamped with the name of the die making company that produced the dies - "W.H. MILLER & SONS, MILCO," of Providence, Rhode Island.  All six pieces are in excellent condition with no corrosion, fine polished surfaces and some of the case colors from the hardening process survive.  From the holes in the center of the die stamps, it appears that this set was used to produce the “screw back”, early pattern DI’s and further argues that this set pre-dates WWII.   

This is truly an exceptional set and one that would serve as the center piece for any US Army insignia collection.  (0420)  $275



Ordering Instructions

Identified Items  


Edged Weapons

Saddles and Horse Equipment


Collectors Ammunition

Uniforms, Insignia, Hats

Canteens and Mess Gear

Gun tools, Bullet molds and Parts

Field Equipment and Artillery

Original Ordnance Manuals, and Photos 

US Army Medical

Reference Books and Reprints