A professional diver found his dream collector’s piece when he snapped up a vintage US Navy diving helmet for £8,000 at John Nicholson’s auctioneers in Fernhurst on February 10.

The helmet, dating to 1944 and manufactured by the Diving Equipment and Salvage Company inc in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had been presented as a gift to someone who helped build one its submarines.

The recipient’s family consigned the diving helmet, along with boots, to the Saturday auction in Fernhurst at an estimate of £1,000 to £1,500, and bidding proved very competitive indeed.