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Antique Safes/Stephen Cox and Son Safe


I have just inherited a very old Stephen Cox & Son safe, it is made of two skins of steel and sounds hollowish when tapped (with a hammer) what did they used to put between the skins?

Hope you can help, thanks

Hello Howard,

Thanks for your question.  The fill depends on what model Stephen Cox safe it is.  However, by far the most popular Cox safe was their low grade Gibraltar.  It was a general purpose petty cash and book safe.  I sold hundreds of them over the years, mostly to schools to hold dinner money and exam papers.

It had a loose fill of limestone chippings.  Unlike a sold fill, this could move and compact leaving some parts of the safe hollow.

I have seen one or two ripped open over the years so insurers generally don't like you to keep more than 3,000 cash in them.

If you want confirmation of the model, you are welcome to send me a picture.


Mike Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy  

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Mike Palmer


I earn my living identifying safes and suggesting cash limits for risk advisors and insurance surveyors in the UK. I'm am pleased to comment on safes manufactured in the UK or Mainland Europe but I am unable to accept questions regarding safes made in the USA or elsewhere.


I have been in the UK safe industry for 40 years and have one of the largest archive databases of old safe literature and serial numbers in the country. I started with Chubb in 1960 and became Assistant Manager of their Bank Security Division before moving on to become the Insurance Liaison Manager with the John Tann Group. I became Sales & Marketing Director for Guardian Safes Limited before semi-retiring. I am a Fellow of the Security Institute and ex-Chairman of Eurosafe UK, a trade body representing the interests of UK safe makers and distributors. I now work as a part time consultant.

I am an advisor to the Safe Committee of the Association of Insurance Surveyors, a Fellow of the Security Institute and founding Chairman of Eurosafe UK.

I have had literally scores of articles published in various security trade publications. So far this year I have had 24 features published in various journals including Keyways, Professional Security, Pawnbroker and Safe India. I have published one book, Peckham Boy, the life and times of the world's greatest safe cracker.

No relevant educational credentials.

Awards and Honors
In 1997 I was awarded the annual shield by the Association of Insurance Surveyors for "..outstanding services to crime prevention"

Past/Present Clients
I have represented or been an agent for the John Tann Group (Stratford, Ratner, Dreadnought and Tann safes); Churchill Safes, Chubb Safe Co Ltd, SLS Safes, SMP Safes, Dudley Safes and several others

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