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Antique Safes/Info on old "express" box



box 2
box 2  
I recently purchased an old heavy metal box.  I was told it was an old "express" box.  It has a set of keys but does not have any identifying marks other than a few numbers stamped in a couple different places.  I am really looking to find out exactly what this box it.  Is it worth anything, as the reason I ask that is bc I would like to have it restored and just curious if it s worth restoring?  Then to follow up with that question is any idea what to look for in a person to restore the thing?
Any information that you could provide would be greatly helpful.  As I really have no idea what this box is but I really love the look.  

Jason, just based on the pictures I would say mid to late 1800's.  A close look at the inside of the lock would help.  These "express" boxes tended to have a rather simple paint job.  Purely a portable burglary resistive chest and they have been used for centuries.  Not being a collector I would only be guessing at value, but I would think at least several hundred in its current condition.  Today the term express is thought of as indicating speed but in earlier times it also would include increased security of transport.  Doug

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Doug MacQueen


This unusual and highly innovative safe from the later 1800's is a Corliss. William, the much younger brother of George Corliss of steam engine fame, spent several years perfecting this design and it was first displayed at the 1876 Philadelphia U.S. Centennial Exhibition. I do extensive patent research helping me in the study of antique U.S. safes and safe locks. Repairs and part making for antique U.S. safes of the early to mid 1800's, both key and combination. Also the study of early round door chest designs up to and including cannonball safes of the early 1900's.


40 years in the lock and safe trade with a stint in bank service work. Openings, repairs and moving of safes of all types.

Charter member Safe and Vault Technicians Association SAVTA, National Safemans Association NSO, National Antique Safe Association NASA. No longer current.

SAVTA monthly magazine

CMS (Certified Master Safecracker- NSO) and CPS (Certified Professional Safe Technician - SAVTA)

Awards and Honors
2nd place national combination manipulation contest 1986 and now in 2016 1st place

Past/Present Clients

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