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Antique Safes/proper combination sequence



I just inherited an old Alpine Safe & Cycle Co safe that belonged to my Great Grandfather, Grandfather, mother and now me. It has a 60 number dial on it

I opened it several months ago before my Mom passed. It was a relatively easy combination to remember, but now I am having a problem opening it and i am wondering if I have the turning sequence wrong.

What is the proper rotation sequence for opening an antique safe?

Thank you for your time.



The lock on this safe will actually open either LRL or RLR.   There are two separate combinations that will open the safe, DEPENDING on which direction you dial the safe.  As you only have one combination, you will have to try BOTH sequences to determine which is yours.

The dialing sequence is either:

3 times left to the first number,
2 times right to the second number,
1 time left stopping on the third number - turn handle.


3 times right to the first number,
2 times left to the second number,
1 time right stopping on the third number - turn handle.

NOTE:  Left is counter clockwise, Right is clockwise.  DO NOT count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

NOTE:  there are only three reasons that a safe lock won't open, they are (in order):
1.  Incorrect dialing sequence, (operator errors)
2.  Incorrect combination, (wrong numbers)
3.  Mechanical problems.

If your safe still won't open, you are either making a dialing error, or you don't have the correct combination.   It may be time to have a safe technician from a local safe company, check it out.

Hope this helps,

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland Safes from the 1860's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2013 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

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US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

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