The helmet, which was made by Siebe Gorman and Co in 1910, was originally bought by the vendor from the British Whaling Company in South Georgia, then part of the Falkland Islands, in 1970. It was estimated to sell for between £2,000 and £3,000 when it went under the hammer at auctioneers Golding Young & Thos. Mawer on Wednesday, December 21.
But fierce bidding in the room against several telephone bidders and others on the Internet ensured it outstripped its estimate to sell for a hammer price of £3,675.
Auctioneer John Leatt said: "The diver's helmet was made by the very best of makers and it was unusual for such a piece only to have been on the market once in its lifetime.
"It was bought by a local collector who had been searching for a diver's helmet for some time. Its excellent provenance and the fact it was in completely untouched condition ensured it made a high price."
Exceptional prices were achieved for gold and silver in the sale. In particular, three Krugerands consigned from a Nottingham deceased estate and 12 sovereigns from the same source made a total of £2,630 and a set of three gold coins made £840.
An automatic Omega gentleman's wristwatch with date aperture, champagne-coloured dial and nine carat gold strap sold for £580. An 18 carat gold pocket watch by Thomas Russell and Son of Liverpool in its original box, which had an estimated of £400 and £600, sold for a hammer price of £900 and its matching nine carat gold watch chain, which included a T-bar and gold sovereign dated 1918, sold separately for £850.
Meanwhile, a three-piece silver tea service made by Walker and Hall of Sheffield in 1918 sold for £420 and two lots of mixed copper, nickel, silver and other coins and a number of silver crowns made £420 and £1,500 respectively.
An early 19th century longcase clock by T. Powell of Gainsborough with an arched painted dial in an oak and mahogany case sold for £550 and a blue and cream Chinese carpet far outstripped estimates of £70 to £100 to sell for £1,100.
And finally, from the auctioneers and staff at Grantham and Lincoln, thank you for all your valued support in 2011. Whether you bid for any of the 30,000 plus lots that came under the hammer or were one of the thousands of vendors we served, your contribution has been an important part of a very progressive year.
The next sales will be held at Grantham on Wednesday, January 4 and in Lincoln on Wednesday, January 18.