Weekly Auctions of Exceptional Items
Log In
lots of lots
Lot 0017

This is a very unique opportunity to purchase a complete and all original US Navy Mark V divers dress (a Jake). Not only is this unique and rare display complete – it features one of the very first US Navy Mark V helmets ever made in 1918!

The helmet was made by one of the famed and iconic manufacturers of the 19th and 20th Centuries, the A. Schrader’s Son Company. Located in Brooklyn, New York, this company would start making diving helmets and related equipment in the 1840s. Throughout the 19th Century, they would improve upon diving helmet design and become a supplier to the US Navy. During the early 20th Century their helmets would utilize the latest techniques in design and safety. Schrader would go on to be a major supplier of the famed Mark V from 1916 till after World War II. The Mark V is considered by many to be the most iconic diving helmet ever made.

This full “Jake” consists of the following original gear, Mark V Schrader helmet 1918, canvas dive suit, canvas with brass toes and lead sole boots, dive knife (rare variation), leather dive belt with lead weights, length of main air hose, air supply hose (whip), air control valve, length of communications line with brass fitting, non-return valve and the display stand.

Our description of the individual components will start with the helmet. This iconic US Navy Mark V helmet was made by the A. Schrader’s Son Company on August 6th, 1918 and is one of the very first made! It is serial #339 – the 339th Mark V ever made! Towards the end of World War 1, the US Navy was in need of equipment for the reconstruction of Europe and its Navy. The helmet has a copper body with brass hardware, all of which is present. Over the 101+ years, the helmet has developed a wonderful dark patina. The helmet features the original A. Schrader’s Son Inc. brass ID plate with serial # and date stamped clearly into it.

The second piece, equally as rare as the helmet is the dive knife. While US Navy standard dive knives are not especially rare generally, the knife featured in this display is very rare and desirable! Almost all US Navy standard diving knives were made with a stainless steel blade, wood handle, and brass sheath. This knife externally appears standard until the blade is inspected. Rather than the regular stainless steel, this blade is made of copper & beryllium. Few knives were made of this material and they were generally only used by UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) divers. A copper-beryllium blade is not magnetic, allowing for safe use around mines! The knife is clearly marked Fisher Spring NY and its contract # C-713051. This knife is a rare piece, making the overall display even more impressive!

The canvas Mark V dive suit is still in very presentable condition. Over the many decades, it has gotten somewhat stiff, but for display purposes such as this it has a great look fitting with the rest of the equipment. The suit has a #2 stenciled on the back and arms. There are numerous scuffs, small tears, and stains from age. The suit is currently stuffed with very old newspaper, which could stand to be removed and a better material added to it to fill out its appearance and also preserve it better. The suit also has a pair of three-finger canvas gloves which look great and are detachable. The back of the legs have leather laces which look great!

On the bottom of the Jake are vintage dive boots. These are standard US Navy Mark V lightweight boots. The body of the boots are made with canvas, same as the suit. The toe is brass with a wood sole and lead bottom tread. The back of the boots have a leather heel. Newer rope laces and leather straps are present as well.

At the center and strapped around the shoulders of the helmet in the correct configuration is the leather weight belt. The belt features original lead weights with the manufacturer’s name cast into them.

Attached to the helmet is a whip (small hose attached to the air fitting of the helmet). The whip is attached to a non-return valve on the helmet and on the other end an air control valve (attached to the lower front of the breastplate). A length of the air supply line is rolled up behind the legs. A length of communications line is attached to the helmet, with the correct vintage brass fitting. Lastly, the helmet also comes with a Tee wrench, used for tightening and removing the 12 wing nuts on the breastplate.

Not shown in the photos is an original US Navy diving manual. This manual is quite large and contains all the information a diver of the Mark V would need.

The photos do show is display stand, which is included with all the equipment. The stand is made of steel and quite old. Four castors are bolted to the base allowing for easier movement of the entire display. This stand does come apart, allowing for easier shipping. The stand is optional to the winning bidder.

As mentioned above, the Mark V helmet has a fantastic patina. The helmet is a #s matching example. This means the stamped numbers on both the bonnet and breastplate neck rings are matching. This proves the two halves of the helmet are original to each other. The helmet is complete with all four original brails, 12 wing nuts, exhaust valve, air fitting, communications fitting, window guards and internal air vents. The dumbbell safety latch is broken off and there is no neck ring gasket. The front window guard is broken in one spot. If so desired, both the dumbbell latch and guard can be replaced fairly easily. Overall, the helmet is a rare early #s matching World War 1 example with an unmistakable original untouched appearance.

It can take years to find all the period original equipment that this “Jake” display features. The combination of the very early Mark V, rare Fisher Spring dive knife, boots, belt, suit, whip, air control valve, non-return valve, air hose, communication line & fitting, dive manual and custom display stand is a combination of rare equipment that will likely not be offered again for a very long time. This authentic antique equipment is investment quality and provides you with an instant display that will no doubt impress everyone!

All helmets sold & auctioned by Nation’s Attic Inc. will come with a certificate of authenticity (COA). This COA will have a serial # on it that will match the # on a tamperproof holographic decal placed on the inside of the helmet. This level of security and long-term assurance of the helmets authenticity is un-matched in the industry and very important to us.

All helmets will be shipped in two double boxed boxes via FedEx. Worldwide shipping available. A domestic & international shipping quote prior to the auction can be provided by emailing your postal code.

Buyer's Premium

  • 15%

1918 US Navy Mark V Jake! Helmet, Suit, Knife + More!

Estimate $10,000 - $15,000Sep 14
Auction Curated By:
Don Creekmore
Auction Curator