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Antique Safes/Hall's bankers Safe


I am looking at buying an old safe that someone I know wants to sell.
The safe I am looking at is a Hall’s Safe and Lock Co. I am guessing it is a bankers/fire safe based on other responses I have read on this site. Exterior size is 3’wide x 3’deep x 3’-10” tall. It has 2 doors. The doors are 10” to 12” thick with the bolt work exposed on the back side of the door. Serial # on the handle was the low 80,000's. The bolt work looks chromed with etched patterns on the linkages and frame. There are minor wear marks and some light rust. It looks like bolt work would clean up nicely. There is a “Joseph Hall, Cincinnati O.” coin like emblem on the lock cover. The emblem has some damage on it. It has a 4 or 5 number combination that works. The hinge anchors are mismatched. 4 are solid and I am guessing are original. The other 4 are hollow and look like they came from a HHM safe. Exterior paint is in poor condition and is cracking (kind of cracked/wrinkled appearance like when you first put paint stripping chemicals on a painted surface). The inside has wood shelving with several draws to which the keys do not work and a shelf missing. Wood work is in fair shape.
I am trying to figure out the approximate age and value of the safe to make a fair offer. I know you are not keen on ballpark values, but if you could give me an idea of a price range that would be great. I have a few photos of the outside and bolt work of the door I can send you if you feel it is worth while.

I plan on doing some restoration work to it, so I would like to spend my time on a safe that is worth while. I am looking more for a project/conversational piece more than to store valuables. But my impression is this thing would be a beast to try to break into.

Thank you for your time.


Do not "guess" on WHAT you might be buying.   Either do the research to find out what it is (actually - NOT compared to what you THINK it might be), or be prepared to find out that you got something that might not be what it was purported to be.

As far as the "cracked / wrinkled" finish, this is known as "crazing", and generally it is an effect that happens to really old varnish.    You will need to remove all of the old varnish WITHOUT causing damage or removing the underlying paint.   Afterwards either re-varnish, or use a clear coat material.

I would be more than happy to take a look at the "potential purchase" to see what you have, but I will need a full set of photos.

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 12mb 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 online, internet 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.  

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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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