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Antique Safes/Underwriters Laboratories Safe

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Question
Hello,

I have had a safe for awhile that use to belong to my husbands grandmother.  I don't know the age or the value of it and I am wanting to sell it.  The safe is an Underwriters Laboratories Inc.  R-2899 Classification E.  I would say the overall condition is fair needing paint but no body damage.  I have no idea of the combination of the safe but it is opened.  The inside has 3 open shelves to the left and one big open compartment to the right.  Very heavy and sits on 4 rolling wheel.  Measures 18" T x 15 1/2" D X 15" W.  

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You,

Kathy

Answer
Kathleen,

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) was NOT a manufacturer, they are a standards testing lab, to ensure that "items" from light bulbs to extension cords, including safes, meet a certain standard, so that YOU as a consumer can judge items made by different companies on a level playing field.   For instance if you are buying a toaster, and the store has a display of five different toasters,  If they ALL have been tested by UL to make sure that they don't explode into flames, then you can be sure that they are pretty safe, however if one of them had not been tested, but was much cheaper than the others, this MIGHT be something to stay away from.

Similarly, safes are tested by UL for their ability to keep heat out (fire resistive), and people out (burglary resistive).

Class E UL containers (old testing label) would indicate a burglary resistive chest, with at least 1-1/2" thick steel in the door, and at least 1" thick steel in the walls (body).  This is equivilant to the newer UL TL-15 label.
Safe Manufacturers National Association (SMNA) "E" rated containers indicated a fire resistive file cabinet, which has NO burglary rating.   Many safes had both UL and SMNA labels, so I'll need to verify your label, to know exactly WHAT you actually have.

The weight of steel is around 42 lbs per square foot 1" thick.  With the shelves, etc. this would place the weight of your safe at around 500 lbs (est.).   Tl-15 and E rated safes which weigh LESS than 750 lbs have to be bolted to concrete for the label to apply.  Without seeing the safe, I can't answer any questions about the wheels, however they WILL take away from its burglary resistance - how safe can a safe be, that can easily be rolled away by burglars?  Generally burglary safes DO NOT have wheels on them.

As far as your wanting to sell the safe, before I can evaluate it I will have to see it.   This should allow me to identify WHAT you actually have, and possibly how old it is, What condition it is actually in, and whether or not it is obsolete or something that potentially has market value.
As long as the safe door is LOCKED OPEN, the combination can be recovered or reset by any safe tech from a local safe company.

In order to answer specific questions, identify, evaluate or appraise your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos should include pictures of the dial, handles, hinges, artwork, locks, bolt work, castors, cabinetry, ALL labels or logos, and any special details or damage.  Note:  You may have to remove the back panel on the door to gain access to the lock & bolt work – I will need these pics.
    
If you have a particular detail that you have a question about, I will need a photo of it along with your question.

I will also need to see any documentation that you have in regards to your safe.  If your safe has a unique historical perspective, you should be able to document this with letters, newspaper articles or photos, if not it is simply a story and will have no bearing on the value of your safe.

Please use as high a resolution as possible so that I can examine details of your safe.  Pictures which are low resolution, out of focus, or from a distance don’t help when we try to evaluate the container.  Note:  with higher resolution, you may only be able to send 2-4 pictures per email, depending on the size of the file, I have a 10mb limit per email.  If photos are larger than 2mb each, you may only be able to send 2 or 3 photos per email, requiring several emails.  Please don’t send me “cell phone” photos.

Please send all of the requested photos to:  andy@securitysafeusa.com

Note:  As I am in the field several days each week, covering a huge service area, I may not get back to your photos immediately, but I will respond as soon as I get an opportunity.  Due to field work, emails may tend to get backed up which means I may not answer them immediately.

Our informal evaluation is at no charge, however if you feel you need a formal evaluation or appraisal for insurance, estate sales, donations for tax write offs, or to establish it as an antique, there is an administrative fee for this service.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900'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.

Experience

44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and 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. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". 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

Organizations
Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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 - 2015 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

Past/Present Clients
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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