Nation's Attic 2024 Diving Into History

Chilian Antique Diving Helmet With Welding Shield

The auction will start in __ days and __ hours

Start price: $1,000

Estimated price: $2,500 - $4,000

Buyer's premium: 20%

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

This is a fairly unusual and interesting antique diving helmet made in the Republic of Chile. While we cannot place a firm date of manufacturer on this helmet, early to mid-20th Century is a good estimate.


The helmet has no manufacturing stamps or Id plate. The style of the helmet and its construction help determine where it was made. The 3-window style of the bonnet and breastplate style are hallmarks of helmets made in Chile. In addition, the bonnet is constructed of multiple pieces of copper that have been welded together in a style called castling or castellation. This pattern is visible on the top of the bonnet. This construction style was used in the United States until the early 1900s.


In addition to the helmet’s wonderful patina, it also has a unique-looking welding shield installed on the faceplate. The shield is secured via two thumbscrews, making it easy to remove and install. This helmet has certainly seen a lot of use originally. A wonderful patina has developed on the copper body and brass hardware. As to be expected, there are numerous working dents on the top bonnet. Each half does thread together with ease. The rubber neck ring gasket is gone. The 12 studs appear to have been relocated on the breastplate long ago. The four brails and 12 nuts fit correctly. One of the hex nuts is steel and one of the studs is slightly loose but still secure. One of the knobs on the faceplate is missing. The air vents and exhaust button inside the bonnet are present. The air fitting on the back of the bonnet has pulled away from the copper body slightly, but is not loose. Glass is all intact with scratches evident. A helmet like this that was used to its full capacity for decades will always feature deep character like this one.


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. International bidders are advised that some countries do not allow the importation of knives. Nations Attic is not responsible for shipping charges going or coming back if your countries customs denies delivery. Rejected items can be consigned into a future sale as there are no refunds.