Nation's Attic 2024 Diving Into History

Rare Kirby Morgan Circa 1966 Signed Helium Diving Helmet

The auction will start in __ days and __ hours

Start price: $3,500

Estimated price: $7,000 - $12,000

Buyer's premium: 20%

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

This is arguably one of the most visually impressive and historically important styles of diving helmets ever conceived. This is a model KMHeH-2 or a Kirby Morgan helium helmet circa 1966. Before Bob Kirby and Bev Morgan grew their company by designing innovative fiberglass helmets, they started with copper and brass creations like this one!


Looking directly at the front of the helmet it is very similar to others made by Yokohama and even DESCO during the 1950s and 1960s. With a quick glance around the back, that is where all the magic appears! Incorporated into the back is a compartment housing a canister containing a Co2 absorbent. Various plumbing and fittings are also part of the backside and front of the helmet, giving it an appearance, unlike any other helmet.


Originally conceived and developed by Bob Kirby and Bev Morgan, this innovative helium helmet was designed for the rigors of extremely deep water divers, mainly for oil exploration. Helmets like this were very expensive and to build and required a diver with the guts and experience to go to depths of the ocean no diver had ever ventured to.


This specific helmet, as shown in the photos, is in excellent original condition. It features the rarely seen Kirby Morgan Corp Santa Barbara Calif. diamond shaped brass ID plate. While this helmet was undoubtedly used, it was extremely well taken care of. All of the original hardware including the brails, wing nuts, exhaust, non-return valve, etc. are present. It should be noted that by 1966 Kirby Morgan had handed over the rights to produced this amazing helmet to Yokohama in Japan. This specific helmet was made by Yokohama, sent to Kirby Morgan, where the ID plate was applied. The front brails feature the Yokohama company details.


One unique feature that sets this helmet apart from nearly all the others in existence is the presence of Bob Kirby’s signature! On the rare occasion Bob would sign helmets he made, essentially authenticating the helmet for future generations. His signature in black Sharpie is bold and clear on the bonnet.


This helmet’s exotic appearance, completeness, and fantastic originality make it one of the most popular helmets for collectors. Their original expense, limited production, functionality, and worldwide use have also made them highly sought-after treasures. This combination of an early Kirby Morgan ID plate and Bob Kirby’s signature makes this example worthy of any museum or private collection!


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.