Nation’s Attic Inc.

Wichita, Kansas 67211

About Auction House

Nation’s Attic Incorporated is located in Wichita, KS. As a full time business we offer expert factory correct restoration & repair services for antique slot machines made from the 1880’s to 1950. Only dealing in authentic examples of antique slot machines, we are one of the few remaining full time dealers handling vintage coin operated slot machines in North America.

Auction Previews & News

4 Results
  • Auction Industry
    Around the Auction World: March 2022

    Images from around the auction world this March. Image credit from left to right: Akiba Antiques, Phillips, and Nation’s Attic, Inc. Collage by Heemin Moon (Auction Daily). This month welcomed the spring auction season during a period of global uncertainty and change. Auction Daily covered the top stories from around the auction world, including record-breaking London art sales in early March and a chain of acquisitions by Bonhams. We also kept an eye on results and upcoming auctions that flew under the radar.  Here are the top headlines from around the auction world this March. Bruun Rasmussen in Copenhagen, Denmark. Image courtesy of Bruun Rasmussen. Industry Trends In the midst of widespread market uncertainty, Christie’s and Sotheby’s opened the spring season with highly successful London art sales. René Magritte’s L’empire des lumières sold for $79.8 million, tripled the artist’s auction record, and contributed to the highest ever sale total that Sotheby’s has achieved in London. Christie’s London events included masterworks by Franz Marc and Lucien Freud. Both auction houses counted on the support of a global client base as effects of the war in Ukraine rippled through the art world. Despite the success, many questioned the ethics of markets continuing as normal during the crisis. Bonhams took several steps into the mid-level auction market this March. The auction house acquired both New England-based Skinner and Copenhagen’s Bruun Rasmussen within a two-week period. The acquisitions are part of Bonhams’ broader strategy to expand its digital footprint, re-connect to European markets after Brexit, and rival the largest auction companies. American Fotoplayer Style 35. Silent movie player piano/sound effect machine, c. 1920. Image courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions. Auction Highlights Auction highlights this month included a two-day sale of gambling and advertising memorabilia at Potter & Potter Auctions. The offerings included a wide range of items, from vintage musical instruments to card-playing guides. The top lot was an American Fotoplayer used to create soundtracks and sound effects in silent movies. It sold for $33,600. Auction Daily also looked back at Heritage Auctions’ sale celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s 213th birthday. The two-day event brought…

  • Auction Industry
    Nation’s Attic Resurfaces Treasures From the Greatest Naval Rescue Operation in History

    Salvage of USS Squalus (SS-192) on July 13, 1939. Image courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command. On May 23, 1939, the ill-fated USS Squalus sunk 240 feet below water following an engine failure. Despite the limited technology and diving techniques of the period, a rescue team succeeded in saving most of the crew. It was an unprecedented feat that changed the course of naval rescue operations. Over 400 pieces of memorabilia from the salvage and other diving equipment are available in Nation's Attic’s first sale of 2022, the Submarine & Underwater Armor Auction.  The diesel-electric USS Squalus submarine was built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in New Hampshire and christened on September 14, 1938. One of the oldest traditions during the christening ceremony of new ships and submarines was breaking a bottle of champagne over its bow. The bottle was inside a cage for safety. The original and the only silver christening bottle cage used to launch the USS Squalus highlights the upcoming sale. It has an estimate of USD 5,000 to $25,000. Original USS Squalus launch day silver christening bottle cage, c. ​1938. Image courtesy of Nation’s Attic, Inc. Not long after the submarine slipped under the surface of the Atlantic Ocean during one of its routine sea trials, the main engine induction valve failed. Water gushed into the aft engine valve in a few minutes, flooding the inside. The 310-foot long watercraft and 59 crew members on board sunk to the ocean bed. Salvaging the USS Squalus was the beginning of a new chapter in the history of underwater rescue. Previous rescue operations beyond 20 feet did not reap much success, so a rescue operation at 240 feet seemed almost impossible— until it wasn’t. After a complex rescue, the submarine and 33 surviving members were brought to the shore. Yokohama helium diving helmet designed between the 1950s and 1960s. Image courtesy of Nation’s Attic, Inc. The second half of the sale is dedicated to various diving helmets. An uncommon-looking diving helmet made by the Yokohama Company in Japan is available. The Yokohama helium diving helmet (estimated at…

  • Auction Result
    Around the Auction World: November 2021

    Images from around the auction world in November of 2021. Image credit from left to right: Bonhams, Phillips, and Bertoia Auctions. Collage by Heemin Moon (Auction Daily). For many, November signaled autumn’s twilight and the beginning of winter. It was also another exciting month in the auction industry as major works came up for bid in New York’s marquee sales. And beyond these record-breaking events, bidders of all stripes pursued category-specific collectibles such as antique dinnerware, Star Wars figurines from the late 1970s, and everything turkey ahead of Thanksgiving. Here are the top headlines from around the auction world this November. Sotheby’s auctioneer Oliver Barker selling the Macklowe Collection. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s. Industry Trends November witnessed exceptional sale results from around the auction world as the largest houses hosted their New York marquee weeks. Sotheby’s led the way with the hotly-anticipated Macklowe Collection. Widely regarded as a trial of resilience in the high-end art market, the white-glove auction achieved USD 676.1 million. It was reportedly the highest-grossing auction in Sotheby’s history. Other notable results arrived later in the week, including a new record for Frida Kahlo (and Latin American artists), a fierce battle for a first printing copy of the United States Constitution, and new records for emerging artists. Sotheby’s marquee week totaled a historic $1.33 billion.  Competitors Christie’s and Phillips also flexed their resilience in the recovering art market. Phillips brought in $137.9 million, a house record, during its 20th Century and Contemporary Art auction. With this event, the company strengthened its reputation as a launch point for rising young artists. It established new highs for Shara Hughes, Ewa Juszkiewicz, and others. Additionally, Phillips presented the largest single-owner jewelry auction in company history at its Hong Kong location. Earlier in the month, Christie’s turned out strong results for the Cox Collection ($332 million), a 20th-Century Evening Sale ($419.9 million), and a 21st-Century Evening Sale ($219.3 million).  These results reflect a degree of stability at the top of the market as companies transition back to live and in-person events. And as Collins Dictionary names “NFT” the word of the…

  • Auction Preview
    USN Mark V Helmets to Attract Collectors in Upcoming Nation’s Attic Inc. Event

    Diving helmets are among the most sought-after U.S. Navy collectibles. U.S. Navy Mark V helmets are particularly famous among collectors for their looks and origin. These helmets were used from 1916 to 1984 and manufactured as per designs from the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships. The upcoming Nation’s Attic Inc. auction presents multiple USN Mark V helmets from different manufacturers. Among them is a 1972 U.S. Navy Mark V helium diving helmet nicknamed “the Widow Maker.” Produced by the Diving Equipment & Supply Company, the mixed gas helmet was perfect for deepwater expeditions. The helmet earned its nickname from its lethal Co2 absorbent. Also showcased in the auction is an Andrew J. Morse diving helmet with equipment made during 1908. The set includes a whip, air control valve, Craftsweld communication radio, speakers, and the owner’s diving biography. A Tarzan camera housing by diver Georges Beuchat is another offering. Georges Beuchat was known for inventing underwater equipment. The Tarzan was the first commercial camera housing made in Europe. Its design could accommodate Leica and Foca cameras, which were popular during the 1940s. Artworks such as a scrimshaw 16-inch walrus tusk are also notable. Scrimshaw art involves carving ivory, ething drawings on the bone surface, and filling the spaces with pigment. Additionally, fine art collectors will find Hawaii Born in Paradise, a piece by marine conservationist and artist Robert Wyland. Interested bidders can explore the entire catalog on Bidsquare. Find continued coverage of the diving helmets in this sale on Auction Daily. 

  • Auction Industry
    The Mark V ‘Widow Maker,’ A. J. Morse, and Siebe Gorman Diving Helmets Come to Auction

    Exploring the deep sea has always intrigued and excited those living on land. The history of diving dates back to the 5th century BCE. Old paintings even depict Alexander the Great descending in a glass vessel to discover the underwater world. But diving underwater comes with its fair share of challenges. Technological inventions have made underwater exploration a reality. Diving helmets, in particular, made exploring, studying, and working below water possible. They have an important place in the history of ocean exploration. Nation’s Attic Inc. will present a selection of antique diving helmets in an upcoming auction this December. The auction house brings a Mark V ‘Widow Maker’ and other vintage diving helmets in its Diving Into History event. Auction Daily explores some notorious helmets highlighted in the auction before the bidding begins. Notorious USN Mark V ‘Widow Maker’ diving helmet. Image courtesy of Nation’s Attic Inc. The Widow Maker – Mark V Diving Helmet The notorious ‘Widow Maker’ diving helmet is also known as the helium Mark V. It was custom made for the United States Navy by Diving Equipment & Supply Company (DESCO) in March of 1972. The design originated back in the 1930s. The Mark V is a mixed gas helmet designed for extreme deep diving missions. It has a noticeably large brass tank at the back that contains an absorbent for Co2 produced by the wearer. However, this helmet carries a potential risk. When the absorbent at the back of the helmet is exposed to water, it turns into a dangerous gas that can be lethal. That is how the ominous helmet got its ‘Widow Maker’ nickname from US Navy divers. Mark V helmets made for the US Navy, like this one, featured copper bodies coated with original tin to prevent saltwater corrosion. The coating gives this helmet its unique gray color. It also weighs an impressive 101 pounds. It is no wonder that the helmet scared wearers, particularly those who knew about the potential risk of being trapped underwater with it. After its production, this helmet was sent to the USS Brunswick ATS-3, a salvaged…

  • Auction Preview
    July Antique Diving Helmet & Scuba Auction

    In 1912, U.S. Navy gunner George D. Stillson wrote a letter to the Bureau of Construction and Repair complaining about the Navy's equipment and procedures. The Bureau assigned Stillson the task of analyzing the existing methods as a result. In 1915, Stillson submitted his guidelines in his “Report on Deep Diving Tests.” It contained drawings and descriptions of his recommended U.S. Navy diving helmet, the Mark V. A year later, the U.S. Navy commissioned the A.J. Morse Company to build the first Mark V helmet, which remained in production until 1984. The upcoming auction, presented by Nation's Attic Inc., offers a 1916 Mark V diving helmet from Morse. The helmet has an identification plate stating the manufacturer, model, serial number, and manufacture date. In 2006, the Mark V Monument Project Committee commissioned a bronze military diver monument known as 'Jake.' To raise the necessary funding, the committee created 300 monument statuettes from 2007 to 2012 and sold them to collectors worldwide. One of these statuettes is highlighted in the auction. The available statuette is the only known piece that was commissioned in stainless steel. A selection of maritime artifacts, posters, books, and diving equipment will be available as well. Interested collectors can view these lots and register to bid on Invaluable.