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Lot 0058


The US Navy Mark V is arguably the most iconic helmet design ever made. Its style and history have made it one of the most popular helmets among collectors worldwide. The model was made for the US Navy from 1916 till the mid-1980s. Production of the helmet reached peaks during late World War 1 and also during World War 2.

During the entire production run of the Mark V there have only been 4 manufacturers. 3 of those makers made the Mark V in relatively large numbers throughout the 20th Century. The one company that would only make the Mark V from 1943 to 1944 was Miller Dunn. Examples of the Mark V from this company are considered by far the most difficult to locate! With a production run of only 1200 to 1500 helmets, the Miller Dunn Mark VÂ’s are the rare ones!

Miller Dunn was located in Miami, FL. Starting in 1916 the company would make the Divinhood. This helmet was a shallow water model that the US Navy would go on to use. From 1916 to the end of World War 2, Miller Dunn would produce the Divinhood, evolving from the 1st model to their Style 3 Divinhood, also used by the US Navy. This experience in helmet manufacturing and relationship with the US Government undoubtedly led to a brief contract to produce to the Mark V helmet.

This helmet was made on March 1st, 1944. This information is on the lead Mark V ID plate. Per US-Government specifications, all Mark V helmets were to be dated with at least the month and year it was produced. In addition to the date, the helmets serial number is also stamped on the ID plate. Miller Dunn elected to use a lead ID plate, which resulted in many of their ID plates being marked up easily, leading to helmet information being difficult to read. This specific ID plate lucky has survived in relatively good condition.

Externally the helmet features a fantastic original patina. The copper body retains a majority of its original factory installed tinning. The helmets original ID plate is present and easy to read. Miller Dunn helmets would put the day, month and year of a manufacturer on the ID plate as well as a serial number, in this case, 605. Miller Dunn would also stamp the serial number on the inside of all four brails as well. This helmet we are pleased to report has all 4 brails with the same matching serial number! Also found on the edge of the neck ring on the breastplate is a stamped 605. The bonnet on the inside of the neck ring is stamped 566. The bonnet # is close enough to safely assume it was mixed up while in use by the Navy on a ship or Navy base somewhere. Also found stamped on the communications cup is a US Navy inspection stamp. This stamp shows that the Navy inspected and accepted this helmet into their inventory! No doubt a helmet made in 1944 was used for many jobs.

On the inside of the helmet bonnet, the original air vents are present. The inside of the bonnet retains the original tinning, same as the outside. There is also a vintage reproducer or speaker still intact! The helmet is complete with all 12 wing nuts (all are flanged style), 4 brails, 4 brail shims, window guards, glass, window guard screws, air fitting, BTE exhaust, spitcock valve, dumbbell safety latch and with chain, air vents, and communications fitting. Also present is a Schrader stamped non-return valve, air cap and communications fitting cap.

Miller Dunn Mark V helmets are unique with a number of small little differences that set them apart. The companies lack of experience making the helmet undoubtedly was the reason for the small curiosities found on them. These unique aspects and very limited production run also accounts for their premium value over Mark Vs made by the other 3 companies during World War 2.

Mark V helmets are arguably the most desirable and collected helmet in the entire world. This is a 100% authentic example with a US Navy inspection stamp would make a fantastic addition to any collection or as great investment piece!

All helmets sold & auctioned by Nations 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.

The display stand shown in the photos is not included. The option to purchase one after the auction will be provided. All helmets will be shipped in two double boxed boxes via FedEx. Worldwide shipping available. A shipping quote prior to the auction can be provided by emailing your postal code.

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US Navy Mark V Diving Helmet Miller Dunn 44

Estimate $7,500 - $12,000Dec 07, 2019
Starting Bid $3,200
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Ships fromWichita, KS, US
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Wichita, KS, USA
Auction Curated By:
Don Creekmore
Auction Curator