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Thinking About Collecting or Investing In Antique Diving Helmets?

We receive phone calls and emails quite regularly from customers interested in getting into collecting or even investing in antique diving helmets. For various reasons, people from all over the world find these helmets fascinating. Sometimes a helmet's visual appearance is so unique or classic, collectors are drawn to it. Other times a story or history associated with the vintage diving helmet piques the interest of someone. Regardless of the reasons for collecting these helmets, there are some things to know before spending considerable amounts of money.

Could You Tell The Difference Between A Replica & An Original?


(Replica US Navy Mark V Helmet)

With almost any collecting field there will be reproductions made of desirable and valuable examples. The antique diving helmet market is no different. As a matter of fact, there are probably more reproductions of classic diving helmets than authentic ones in the world! So how can you be assured you are buying an authentic antique divers helmet? The answer is simple, work with a trustworthy and reputable dealer - like the Nation’s Attic.


Nation’s Attic Inc. has been in the antique diving helmet business for a number of years. We are one of, if not the largest dealer of antique diving helmets in the world! Our hands on experience with these helmets and market knowledge allow us to advise our clients with a level of expertise unmatched. In addition, Nation’s Attic is a proud contributor and sponsor of the Historic Diving Society in the USA, UK & Australia. These wonderful non-profit organizations are dedicated to the study of diving and are a fantastic resource for anything diving related. Nation’s Attic is also a member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.

How Can I Spot A Fake or Reproduction Diving Helmet?

We get this question a lot! Unfortunately in most cases when we look at a helmet in an on-line or live auction, a huge majority of them are not authentic. For decades the Mark V has been reproduced. These reproductions are simple display items that somewhat resemble an authentic helmet. There are however many fairly good reproductions. Many of these may have an ID plate that is similar in appearance to the real ones. A commonly missing detail of these reproductions is the lack of a serial number and date. If a date is present, it is very common to have the date of 8-29-41.

While the Mark V is the most common model of antique diving helmet to be reproduced, there are others. These more sinister reproductions were done with the sole intent of deception and made in very limited numbers or even just one. Even advanced collectors can be fooled by some of these forgeries. So how can you tell if you are looking at the real deal or not? The first step is simply send us photos via email - or text us photo at 1-316-371-1828. We are happy to give you our opinion based on the photos.

100% of all antique diving helmets Nation’s Attic offers will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. This document is produced by Nation’s Attic to retain not only the helmets history, but also document its critical and important details. We will always stand behind every helmet we sell as authentic!

Types of Vintage Diving Helmets To Collect

Lots of our clients, especially in the United States, contact us looking for the

world famous US Navy Mark V helmet. These are magnificent helmets, no

doubt about it, but there are lots of other models, styles and age ranges of

helmets to collect as well. Below is a broad list of other types of antique

helmets that are popular to invest in and collect.

Antique & Vintage Commercial Diving Helmets

Not only did the militaries of the world use diving helmets, but commercial

divers did as well. These helmets from the mid 19th Century into the late 20th

Century represent some of the most interesting styles ever manufactured.

Helmets from the 1800’s in original un-altered condition are premium

investments and quite rare!

Antique Shallow Water Diving Helmets

Some of the most interesting and unique looking helmets are shallow water

helmets. While these types of helmets were used in depths of less than 60’ their importance to diving history and collecting is unquestionable. Helmets made by Miller Dunn, Snead, Morse and DESCO have both historical interest, but also great visual appeal.

Antique Homemade Helmets

That’s right, homemade helmets! During the Great Depression in the United

States many divers didn’t have the funds to purchase a new or even used

helmet. Publications such as Popular Mechanics would have articles on how to build your very own shallow water diving helmet. Today these helmets are

unusual looking and have a “Steam Punk” look.

Vintage Military Helmets

During the 19th and 20th Centuries countries from all around the world would

have military divers. In many cases the larger countries such as the United

States, United Kingdom, Russia and Italy would supply their allies with helmets. Today these military helmets are very collectible, but sometimes difficult to determine if they were actually used by a military service or not. Regardless, these classic helmets represented the best during their respective time periods and locations.

Just Getting Started and Have Questions?

These categories are very general, each with excellent models that have

excellent investment potential and then some that don’t perform well on the

collector market. Initially many of our clients are not sure if they want to focus

on one style or have a general collection of helmets. In most cases it comes

down to personal style and if a specific helmet appeals to you or not. In any

antique field, finding those special and authentic items is the challenge.


Luckily for you we do all the hard work of finding them, authenticating and providing you with all the information to make an educated decision.

If you are just starting your research or ready to get a collection started, please feel free to give us a call at 1-316-371-1828 or email 

We have hundreds of photos of helmets we have sold in the past that we can

show you to help get you focused and educated! You can also join our email

client list which will give you an excellent and consistent education of what’s

available on the market and pricing!

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