Nation's Attic Diving Into History 2023

AJ Morse & Son Five Bolt Diving Helmet

The auction will start in __ days and __ hours

Start price: $2,500

Estimated price: $5,000 - $8,000

Buyer's premium: 20%

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

One of the most desirable and rare American diving helmets is the 5 bolt pattern made by the A.J. Morse company in Boston, Massachusetts, aka the US Navy Mark 1. This style of helmet was used by the US Navy in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century before the Mark V debuted in 1916. Commercial divers would also use this style during these periods as well.

This model is unique in that the bonnet (top) and breastplate (bottom) are secured together via 5 large bolts at the neck ring. Traditionally, helmets were threaded together, but this style was favored by some. While the US Navy used the 5 bolt pattern, helmets in their inventory after 1916 were generally retro-fitted into a threaded style, making the surviving 5 bolt helmets quite scarce.

This helmet features the serial number 1344 on both neck rings and four brails. Helmet #1344 was salvaged off a sunken ship many years ago with only the neck rings being in usable condition. With the two neck rings and the serial numbers visible, the original manufacturer of the helmet, Morse, then located in Rockland, MA performed a ground up rebuild of the helmet. The result of those painstaking and expensive efforts is this magnificent five bolt helmet.

As can be seen in the photos, the helmet is in beautiful condition. Many years after the helmets rebuild, a slight patina has form on the copper and brass hardware. All of the hardware is present on this helmet including the 12 wing nuts, four serial numbered brails, five neck ring bolts, port guards, glass, threaded faceplate, exhaust, air elbow fitting, non return valve, modern communication cable, internal air vents, exhaust chin button, ID plate, and neck ring gasket.

There are no notable dents in the copper body. The helmet has been maintained in a collection for many years. This impressive helmet with proper testing by a certified dive shop could be a fantastic helmet to use or simply to admire. Regardless, this is a rare opportunity to own a classic five bolt diving 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.