You are here:

Antique Safes/how to open a lock safe no combination !


company name  & year
company name & year  

  brass combination  lock
brass combination l  
I have a very old safe with a Sargent & Greenleaf Magnetic Combination Lock from the 1800,s can you tell what year the lock was made & how can it be open with out doing damage to the lock or the safe. Also what company made the safe please advise and a big Thanks for your time. PS is there a factory default combination. :-)


Where did you get the idea that this safe has a "Magnetic" combination lock????   The lock that I would expect to find with this dial, and potentially on this safe, would be an S&G C62 Series lock   The series has the following four locks:
1.  C62 - 4 wheel, rotary bolt lock
2.  C64 - 4 wheel, sliding bolt lock
3.  C66 - 3 wheel, rotary bolt lock
4.  C68 - 3 wheel, sliding bolt lock
Chances are it would be either the C62 or C66 - note:  none of these locks are magnetic locks!

These locks were used by many safe companies, from "after 1871 until about 1920, there are no records which would indicate when this particular lock would have been made.

The safe appears to be from the "York Safe & Lock Company".  They made this style from around 1880 until the 1940's.   This was a fairly standard safe from York.

As far as opening the safe you basically have two options, you can test all of the possible combinations, or you can have it opened by a safe technician from a local safe company.   NOTE:   I never recommend using locksmiths as they generally do not have the training, knowledge or tools to work on safes, without causing excessive damage or charging exhorbant fees.
Depending on which lock is installed, you could be looking at a potential 1,000,000 possible combinations on the C66, or 100,000,000 possible combinations on the C62.    Testing every combination could take you a lot of years!
Oh yeah - there is no such thing as a "default" combination.   With at least 1,000,000 possible combinations, a manufacturer can make a lot of safes before ever using the same combination twice.   Every safe was set on a unique combination, when it left the factory.   As York has been out of business since being closed down by Diebold in 1959, trying to get hold of them to check records is going to be rather hard.

Contact a local safe company to discuss options and costs for their services.

Hope this helps, or at least gives you some direction.

Antique Safes

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2017 All rights reserved.