Nation’s Attic finds strong market in vintage diving helmets

Leading the auction was this 19th century diving helmet made by the Alfred Hale Co. in Boston. It sold for $12,937. Nation’s Attic Inc. image

WICHITA, Kan. – Nation’s Attic Inc. Winter Diving Helmet & Memorabilia auction on Dec. 7 drew a record number of bidders from around the world. The 238-lot auction drew hundreds of bidders from the United States, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Eastern Europe, Iceland, China, Central America, South America, Russia and South Africa. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

The highlight of the auction was a 19th-century diving helmet made by the Alfred Hale Co., in Boston. The helmet (above) sold for $12,937 with the buyer’s premium included. A desirable World War II U.S. Navy Mark V helmet made by Miller Dunn found a new home at $10,637.

World War II U.S. Navy Mark V helmet made by Miller Dunn. Sold for $10,637. Nation’s Attic Inc. image

Diving helmets retaining their original patina such as a 1919 A.J. Morse example sold for $8,625.

1919 A.J. Morse diving helmet with amazing patina. Sold for $8,625. Nation’s Attic Inc. image

Vintage helmets dating to the 1940s and older all received strong bidding. An A. Schrader 5 bolt fully polished helmet made in the 21st century sold for $11,500.

Polished A. Schrader 5 bolt diving helmet. Sold for $11,500. Nation’s Attic Inc. image

Related diving equipment such as an early 20th century communications box made by A.J. Morse brought a record price of $4,025. Strong bidding in vintage and antique dive-related books drew spirited live bidding, many titles reaching prices in the hundreds of dollars. A rare copy of 100 Years of Air Control ended up at $437. The memorabilia category did not disappoint with a brass plaque from the U.S. Navy Mobil Diving & Salvage Unit selling for $448.50.

Rare Andrew J. Morse U.S. Navy telephone/communications equipment with wood battery box. Sold for $4,025. Nation’s Attic Inc. image

Rounding out the auction was a surprising segment of parts and pieces for the U.S. Navy Mark 12 helmet dating to the 1980s. This model’s interest among collectors and former divers is growing as the helmet has become a piece of Navy history. Bidding was intense for a new/old stock Mark 12 helmet shell, which end at $1,150. Components pieces and parts sold for hundreds of dollars each. A complete volume for blueprints and specifications for the Mark 12 helmet and matching rebreather sold for $862.

“International interest in diving history is an important factor in the collecting field growing. Unlike many categories of antiques and collectibles, diving antiques are appreciated worldwide,” said Don Creekmore, the owner of Nation’s Attic Inc.

For details contact Nation’s Attic Inc. at helmets@nationsattic.com or 316-371-1828. All stated prices are inclusive of buyer’s premium.