Nation's Attic Diving Into History 2023

1942 Morse US Navy Mark V Diving Helmet Yellow Diver

The auction will start in __ days and __ hours

Start price: $4,000

Estimated price: $8,000 - $12,000

Buyer's premium: 20%

Sales Tax: On the lot's price and buyer's premium

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. After the US Navy adopted the Mark 12 helmet for use, there were still three makers of the Mark V helmet for commercial and recreational use, Morse & DESCO (Diving Equipment and Supply Co) and recently Schrader.

This helmet was made by one of those famed and iconic manufacturers of the 20th and 21st Centuries, the Morse Diving Equipment Company Inc. (Morse). Located in Boston, MA this company would start making diving helmets and related equipment in the mid-19th Century. Morse was the first company to make the Mark V for the US Navy in 1916. Morse is still in business today making the highest quality helmets and offering repair services in Milwaukee, WI.

This helmet was made on September 14th, 1942. At this time Morse used an oval brass ID plate. The plate had the date and lot number stamped onto it. Unlike the other 3 manufacturers of the Mark V during World War 2, Morse placed a lot number on the ID plate, in this case 809. Morse would then place the actual helmet serial number on both neck rings and all four brails. The serial number on this helmet is 4482. Yes, that same number is present on all six locations.

As can be seen in the photos, the helmet is in very nice original condition. A patina has formed over the copper body and brass hardware. Also of note are two yellow painted diamonds on the breastplate and bonnet. The paint was applied to some helmets so the diver could be identified by color if multiple divers were working at the same time, in this case, Yellow Diver. This yellow paint is a great indicator of the helmets military history.

There is a WWII era reproducer still mounted on the inside of the bonnet. Other original components intact are the four numbered brails, 12 wing nuts, four copper brail shims, spitcock valve, exhaust valve and chin button, air vents, and glass with original red lead holding it in place. The dumbbell safety latch along with the cotter pin and chain are also present. The single pin communications hook-up is intact inside the communications elbow. Typical shallow working dents and small dings can be found on the peak of the bonnet, indicative of a well taken care of used helmet.

Out of the four manufacturers of the Mark V during World War 2, Morse examples are the second most difficult to find. For various reasons their output of this helmet was far fewer than Schrader and DESCO. In addition, finding a early World War 2 dated example is even more special. Combine those features with the military applied yellow diver diamonds and this is truly a special and unique helmet.

All diving helmets in this auction will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Nations Attic. The certificate will have a unique number that will match the number on a tamperproof hologram decal placed inside the helmet. This information will be kept on permanent file at Nations Attic and help ensure the provenance of the helmet and authenticity. The display stand shown in the photos is not included. The option to purchase one after the auction will be provided.

All items will be shipped with a signature required upon delivery and full insurance either via FedEx or the USPS Priority Mail. Worldwide shipping is available; however, no ocean freight will be offered on large items. DHL Express is an option for international shipments under 600 pounds via air. Payment via bank wire for customers outside the USA is required. A shipping quote prior to the auction can be provided by emailing your postal code.