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Antique Safes/old mosler safe


safe door/date stamp
safe door/date stamp  
Have and old mosler safe that I have had since 1970 and had lost the combnation but had left it locked with the door open.  A local lock smith took it apart and determined the combination and also said the locking mechanism was in very good condition and because it used an old type lock it was probably manufactured in the 1920's.  After water pressure washing I see a landscape scene on the front door with Dallas at the bottom  and after some sand blasting I see "87" stamped on the top inside of the door.  Does this mean that it was manufactured in 1887 and is there a market for a safe this old.  Thanks.


Manufacturers never placed the date of manufacture on a safe.   They didn't do this for a couple reasons, 1.  They were NOT as interested in WHEN an item was made as people now.  They did NOT collect stuff as "antiques", and 2. they didn't have "warrantee's as we know them.

Back in the day when a man's word was his bond, when he sold you a product, he stood behind it, regardless of when it was made.

Manufacturers kept records of their products, having clerks that recorded all details and transactions of a business.   If someone was interested in a similar item or wanted to know when it was made, he simply contacted the factory for the information.   Obviously without the internet, telephones, etc., this contact was not very quick.

Manufacturers never released information about safes publicly, for obvious security and liability reasons, this included serial numbers and/or dates of manufacturer.   By research and collecting serial numbers a few of us have come with some pretty good estimates of when many safes were made.  We also use dates of known equipment, dates of variations in manufacturing techniques, etc. etc. etc. to narrow down dates.

As many manufacturers made safes in "batches", parts were numbered for a particular batch pattern to keep ALL parts made for that safe together.   Many parts were forged or cast, and as castings were not exactly the same from one to another, it was imperative NOT to mix parts up.   The casting number is NOT the serial number which usually wasn't assigned until very close to the end of assembly.

As far as "if there is a market for this safe", there is always somebody willing to buy everything, the problem is finding that person.   Selling old safes is a waiting game.   Waiting for the right potential buyer, who is willing to pay the price that you are willing to let the safe go for.
Obviously, in order to bring the safe and the buyer together, you have to advertise.   while hopefully your safe sells quickly, be prepared to wait years!   I know a guy about 35 miles north of me that has had a particular safe for sale for over 5 years, and has advertised continuously on ebay and a couple other sites, but has yet to find someone who will buy the safe for what he wants considering the shipping of the safe on top of the sale price.

Hope this answers your question.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


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.


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

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

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

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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