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Dec. 10th, 2022 Diving Into History Auction

In what has now become a tradition, Nation’s Attic will be conducting its winter Diving Into History Auction this December 2022. Saturday the 10th at 10am CST, our live auction will start with lot #1 and continue till all the historical and collectible pieces of diving history have been sold.

We typically start our auctions off with vintage scuba diving memorabilia. This year we have a nice assortment of items, including a series of books signed by Jacques Cousteau. On a related note, camera and Cousteau enthusiasts will be interested in a 1961 Calypso 35mm model, the first underwater camera designed with the help of Jacques.

Vintage nautical hardware is always popular. One special piece featured is lot #32, a unique vertical brass and glass ship light made by L.L.R. Company. This piece has been electrified for home use. Another item of note is a World War 2 era US Navy ships compass or binnacle. This example is relatively small, making it perfect for display just about anywhere. If you want a closer look at the neighbors, a 1942 dated US Navy Quarter Master spyglass in its original wood box is also ready for enjoyment.

The main event of many of our Diving Into History auctions is the old diving helmets and related equipment. We have started this part of the auction off with a new helmet, a beautiful Kirby Morgan model 37.

While 40 years older, we also have a 1970s-era Aquadyne AH-2 made of fiberglass, a predecessor of the modern Kirby Morgan helmets.

Probably the most popular era of copper and brass diving helmets in our sales is the World War 2 era hats. While not as well known but just as important is the Miller Dunn Divinhood Style 3. This model was used by the US Navy for shallow water work. We have a wonderful original serial number example, lot 57, selling.

The USN brother to the Miller Dunn helmet is the famed US Navy Mark V. We have multiple examples from World War 2 and a super rare one from World War 1. We are also selling a rare variant of the Mark V nicknamed “The Widow Maker.” This is a mixed gas or helium model, allowing the diver to go to much greater depths than a standard Mark V helmet. These helium helmets are much rarer and a lot heavier!

One of the Mark V helmets in the auction is a Schrader made in 1943. On the underside of the breastplate is some curious etchings done in late 1943. These etchings or engravings indicate the helmet was used at Pearl Harbor and dove on the USS Arizona along with other locations! This is a rare treat to get a glimpse into the initial use of a Mark V helmet!

Many people ask us what came before the US Navy Mark V helmet. In 1916 the Navy actually issued specified what the Mark 1 through Mark 4 helmets were. This auction actually has a very rare US Navy Mark 1 helmet, an A.J. Morse 5 bolt model! Even more rare, this helmet has its original look but has been restored for actual use again. Of special note is a number of items that belonged to one of the first 100 US Navy Seals. His estate entrusted Nation’s Attic to sell his Mark V diving helmet, G-1 jacket, historical plaques, and his personal 1964 Rolex Submariner divers watch, lot #77. This watch is in beautiful original working condition. Just imagine the adventures this watch was part of!

Another piece in the sale that was part of plenty of adventures is a circa 1900 A.J. Morse diving helmet, lot #93. This helmet was used to help construct the Golden Gate bridge and many other structures in California. Of special note is the documented history and photos that accompany this piece of commercial diving history.

The auction also features a number of very nice diving helmet jewelry pieces, diving knives, tools, suits, and other related gear. The auction is rounded out by US Navy Mark 12 diving helmets and related equipment.

Nation’s Attic next auction will be in early 2023. If you have an antique diving helmet or collection of historic diving-related memorabilia and would like to include those items in one of our future auctions, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Call or Text: 316-371-1828

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