You are here:

Antique Safes/safe value

Advertisement


Question
safe 1
safe 1  

safe 2
safe 2  
I am the facilities manager for a credit union in NorCal and we recently closed a branch that had an antique safe in the lobby.  I'm not sure what to do with it, but if it is worth a few hundred dollars (or more) I have been asked to sell it.  I looked on Ebay and none of the floor safes I saw had any offers on them so I don't know if there is much of a market for these things.  
So my question to you is:  What is this safe worth in your opinion? (Assuming of course that we can find a local interested party).
The paint appears to be original, but in questionable condition.  The Diebold combo mechanism on the main door (Pat. 1873) works, but we don't have a key for the inner (unlocked) door.  There is no UL tag.  Decal/paint on the front says American Safe Co. San Francisco.  The serial # is stamped on the opening lever post and as you can see in the photo it is on wheels.  I can send additional photos if they would help.
Thanks for your posted answers, I learned quite a bit reading through them.

Answer
Bob,

In 1885, Diebold changed the style and design of the safe to incorporate “round” corners on the door and frame. This style was used through the 1920’s.  While the Patent date is for the lock, the safe wasn't built until after 1885.   Patents were issued for periods of up to 20 years and may have had extensions, or subsequent patents, so that particular lock may have been used up into the early 1900's.

As you have noted, price is in the "eye of the beholder".    Sellers usually price High, while Buyers tend to price low.   Some where in the middle SHOULD be an agreeable amount that both parties can live with.

The paint may be original or it may have been painted over.   Originally it would have had Diebold's logo, but sales agents and distributors tended to repaint or relogo safes which they sold, for advertising purposes.

As far as the UL lable goes, the first company to get a UL fire resistive rating was the Safe Cabinet Company in 1914.   UL testing was slow to take hold, and most companies didn't start using the service until the 1940's.   As your safe would have been built in the late 1800's or early 1900's, it was made before UL even started testing safes.

While there "is" a market, it isn't big enough for most safe companies to even justify floor space to show these safes of, for a number of reasons.  They do not meet current standards for fire or burglary resistance, and repair or replacement parts are obsolete.  In general safes over 50 years old, have NO commercial or retail value, and should not be used for overnight storage.

In its current condition your safe would probably go for between $500 to $750.  Problem areas include the paint, decal's and lettering, missing hinge acorns (finials), and the missing cabinetry.   Restoration will improve its value.

Keys to the inner lock can be hand fitted, though you will need to take the lock to either a lock shop or safe company that can perform this service.   If you are in Northern California, you can always get it to me as I'm in Hayward.

Hope this helps.

Antique Safes

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


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

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.