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Antique Safes/Restoration of Marvin Safe


Marvin Safe
Marvin Safe  

Inside Safe
Inside Safe  
I have an old Marvin Safe. It has "mfg'd by Marvin Safe painted across the top and embeded within the wheel assembly . it is a double door safe approx 48"wide by 71" high. The inside doors have lake scenes painted on them. I have been looking for any pictures of how it once looked from the outside so I can replicate as near as I can. I will attach a few pictures.

Thank you !!


Unfortunately, I've only been able to identify ONE painter who worked for the Marvin Safe Company.   Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen worked for Marvin between 1871 and 1880.   His artwork generally depicted portraits of vessels or ships.

your safe appears to have been built during the 1880's so the painting was probably by a subsquent painter.

I do have some photos of several doors with variations of art work which may have been similar to what was on your safe.    Unfortunately the majority of these safes which are around 120-140 years old are in pretty rough shape, and most of the art work has been lost.

As far as the "missing cabinetry", I'm not sure what is in there now, but it isn't original.   I wouldn't hesitate to remove it and install some really nice cabinetry.   Something that would showcase a collection or display.

Hopefully you are restoring your safe to be used as a converstation piece.   If so I would recommend having a box of NABISCO crackers (empty or full) on or in the safe, as a conversation piece.   As "Paul Harvey" used to say - "and now for the rest of the story",

An interesting side note, a nephew of Azor Marvin, one Sylvester S. Marvin, trained for a short period of time at the Marvin Safe Company.  In 1860-1862 he served with the 28th New York Volunteer Company K, during the Civil War.  Sergeant Marvin was wounded at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.  Marvin arrived in Pittsburgh in 1863 where he established himself in the cracker business, and founded the house of S.S. Marvin Co., one of the largest concerns of its kind in the United States.  In 1888 Marvin and his partner C.B. Rumsey organized the National Biscuit Company, better known as NABISCO.

So, now you have a really neat old safe, with a great side story to talk about.

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 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.   Also, please don’t use on line photo drops as most of these also don’t allow me to easily access the photos for examination.   Send the pics directly to me, while this may be more work for you, it will make my job easier.

Please send all of the requested photos to:

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.

Email me and send me the requested photos of your safe.   I'll try to come up with a better age (time period), and I'll also see what photos I have that I can send you.

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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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