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Black Mickey Mouse Gas Mask.
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Author:  Dodgydave [ Mon Mar 22, 2010 21:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Black Mickey Mouse Gas Mask.

Has anybody any idea what sort of money would I expect to pay for a Black 'Mickey Mouse' gas mask? A elderly gent near me has one and has asked what I think it's worth.
Never having seen one for sale, I was hoping someone may be able to enlighten me! He also is in possesion of a civillian type gas mask, but it has a 'nose' like the Mickey Mouse one... any ideas??

Author:  Simon H [ Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Black Mickey Mouse Gas Mask.

No I've never seen a black "Mickey" mask. Value? £45+. The other one sounds like a standard civilian ARP/Police type - £5-10 tops. Don't put them on as they are full of asbestos.

Author:  stirrup-pump [ Tue Mar 23, 2010 13:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Black Mickey Mouse Gas Mask.

Dave, a black "mickey mouse" childrens respirator is indeed a rare item. In the few years I have been collecting homefront stuff, I have only seen pictures of them. To the serious collector (I'm not that serious) it would probably have a high value due to the rarity. But for use in a display, I feel the normal red and blue version is a lot more striking and comment provoking from the general public.

As to the other mask, the government did issue a version of the standard civilian respirator which was fitted with a separate exit valve. It was hard work to exhale in a normal one with no exit valve (air escaping around the mask edges), and the exit valve was added for those with breathing problems. It was only issued with a medical certificate from a doctor.
The exit valve is similar to that fitted to the "mickey mouse" and the civilian duty respirator (issued to civil defence workers), and the rest of the mask is the same as a normal civilian type with the one piece celluloid window. This mask is uncommon, I have seen a few on ebay in the last few years.

The civilian duty respirator is easily indentified by having two separate round glass eye pieces which could be removed for cleaning.

As to value, it's whatever you are happy paying and the vendor is happy taking.

Hope this helps, if you want any more details PM me and I'll put on my anorak.
All the best,

Author:  Dodgydave [ Wed Mar 24, 2010 17:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Black Mickey Mouse Gas Mask.

Ok, i'll make the guy an offer based on the value of the standard masks plus a bit more. The one with the 'nose' is not the civillian duty mask; i've seen those and they have a similar face piece to the 'military' issue type (the one with the long hose.)
I'll attempt to get a photo of the masks.
The gentleman has "a few other pieces somewhere" as he put it. I think I need to get him to have a good dig out and try to acquire his other bits. Watch this space!! :D

Author:  Dodgydave [ Wed Mar 24, 2010 18:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Black Mickey Mouse Gas Mask.

Some photos of the masks;
The Mickey Mouse one has a date of 1943 under the nose.
The other one is dated 31/3/42. the filter has a thin green line in one of the grooves.

Author:  stirrup-pump [ Tue Mar 30, 2010 14:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Black Mickey Mouse Gas Mask.

The second mask is definately the type for those with breathing difficulties, the green band signifies that the filter cannister is already adapted for "arsine" gas, unlike early issue masks which needed the additional green Contex (short for container extension) filter taped on.

Given the date of the Mickey mouse, I would speculate that the black ones were all produced later in the war, and the more common red and blue type are from before the war. Does anyone know better?

Anyway, altogether a nice unusual find and I hope you get them for a price you like.

All the best,

Author:  Dodgydave [ Thu Apr 01, 2010 13:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Black Mickey Mouse Gas Mask.

Thanks for the gen on the masks! Interesting your comment on the red Mickey Mouse masks being pre war and the black ones war time; the black one has steel rims to the eye pieces; also with these masks came a usual red Mickey Mouse, which had one aluminium eye piece rim and one steel!(i'll have to check for a date on this one) Did they make many civillian masks after 1943? Certainly, very few people carried them about with them at this time!

Author:  LEI-12-HG [ Thu Apr 08, 2010 20:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Black Mickey Mouse Gas Mask.

Gents - I refer you to this excellent page/website:


The black Mickey Mouse (sometimes called a Pluto mask) was a wartime economy measure introduced around 1942/43 to save on dyes. It is far rarer than the regular red/blue Mickey Mouse mask (but Mickey Mouse was never red/blue but black/white???). It sells for around £65.

The asthmatic's civilian respirator sells at around £55. 'Only' 350,000 were ever made during the war - compared to the 97 million of the regular civilian mask.

Author:  chenab [ Thu Jan 09, 2014 14:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Black Mickey Mouse Gas Mask.

There was a shortage of these small child's masks early in 1941 because the main warehouse storing the unissued ones was hit during an air raid. So in part at least this is why there was another run of the parts - and I suspect that at this point no-one hugely cared about the colour.
Other than the new masks such as the Invalid Hood, the Asthma Sufferers one and the Hospital masks then nothing else much is needed to be made as there are reserves held. I think there was at least one more run of civilian masks late in the war for some reason - perhaps a V2 hit a warehouse?

What this probably means is that actually the Black Mickey's aren't the rarest - but any red Mickey with a filter which has the arsine band would be since that would have to be put together between roughly May to November 1940. Spotting the green band on one of these filters is a so&so because the green doesn't show up well against the blue and its at the top of the filter right where it gets joined to the mask.

Author:  chenab [ Fri Jan 10, 2014 16:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Black Mickey Mouse Gas Mask.

Actually I've been spending odd moments looking at the online Newspaper Archive (I have membership for other reasons) and it's clear that they seem to have more problems distributing the Mickey's than any other mask.
Some places have the Mickey's in stock ready for the start of the war (Leeds), others (Derbyshire) seem to be chasing them up months later.
The main central storage was certainly hit which wouldn't have helped but two other factors seem to have come into play as well - the first is that parents seem to have been very poor at returning them when the child moved up to their first normal civilian one.
The second is that someone in officialdome seems to have not realised how many masks would be damaged (in some cases beyond repair) by kids doing things that kids do - like use them as football posts to bashing each other over the head with them :-(

They certainly get short of rubber after the war in the Far East - that's why members of the Home Guard were allowed to wear the service masks when not on duty so they could return their civilian ones.

And I still cannot find a single mention of a black Mickey in the wartime papers - maybe it was censored (joke)!

And as for the alleged Blue Mickeys - well blue isn't in the colour of the list of spares parts in the CD manual on how to fix the masks.


Author:  Dodgydave [ Mon Mar 24, 2014 18:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Black Mickey Mouse Gas Mask.

Thanks for the follow up to my question; I still look out for these types of masks at Militaria fairs, but have yet to see any more!

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