Military history is up for sale

Hank Hayes • May 25, 2020 at 8:00 AM

KINGSPORT -- Mickey Kiser is selling military history all the way from the American Revolution to present day.

He’s doing it from 219 E. Center Street in downtown Kingsport.

Kiser, who grew up in Bloomingdale, joined the U.S. Army in 1979 and retired in 2000, took a week off and then became a support representative for Bradley Fighting Vehicles. He was a Bradley mechanic in the Army.

All along the way, he was fascinated with military history.

“My first fascination was with World War II, as I could read of different battles and then talk to any of five of my great uncles who were WWII veterans,” Kiser said. “I grew up with the story that one of my relatives had been with that great Tennessean Alvin York when he performed his feat of heroism during the Meuse-Argonne offensive. Unfortunately, I discovered later on this was not true.”

His business is War Room Relics, where you’ll see Civil War-era swords, muskets from the American Revolution and different kinds of uniforms.

“The thing that has always fascinated me the most about military life is the human interest side of things,” Kiser noted. “I love to discover the people behind the relics, and whenever possible reunite them with a family member. That doesn’t happen very often, but it sure feels good when it does happen. My ancestors rode with the Virginia Cavalry during the Civil War, served in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam, so the military runs deep in the family.

“I began to collect after I returned from my last tour in Iraq, and the bug hit hard! I am still a collector at heart, but have found it just as enjoyable to help others in their quest for that elusive artifact needed to complete their collection. My interests center around Civil War Cavalry, the 82nd Division during WWI, WWII airborne and 7th Cavalry items from all eras.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Kiser said he attended 25 to 30 gun shows a year, auctions and estate sales.

“I lot of people are interested in Civil War weapons,” he pointed out. “That’s one of the biggest things. Handguns. After that, swords. Not so much uniforms. They are getting harder to come by and the price is up there.”

Kiser pledged to make every effort to help people with whatever their collecting needs are.

“In the past almost four years since I’ve started doing relics, I have built up a very good network of reputable dealers, so in the event I don’t have what you’re looking for, I can point you in the right direction,” Kiser noted.

Kiser said he is a lifetime member of the Tennessee Military Collectors Association and a member of the Ohio Valley Military Society.

“At War Room Relics, I want you to feel like you’re a friend, not a box to check off,” Kiser concluded. “If you happen to be near Kingsport, Tennessee, and want to drop by the store and hang out for a while, please feel free to! I got cold drinks, popcorn and John Wayne, what more do you need?”