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Antique Safes/Safe info


Hello Mike

I am a retired yacht surveyor and recently moved into a large house in Southern Spain. I am intrigued by a safe 33''H x 24''W x 16''D made by Jose Viladot that stands in the living room. I cannot open it for I do not have the 4 letter combination and that makes it even more intriguing!
Any information you may have would be very interesting indeed. A google search of the name was ineffective.
Sincerely yours
Sid Fisher

Hello Sid,

Many thanks for the picture of your very handsome safe.  I am familiar with most Spanish safe makers but have not come across Jose Viladot before.  I suspect that this was not the manufacturer but an import agent or distributor.  The safe looks more French than Spanish and the elaborate scroll work tends to suggest that it was made in the late 1800's (safes were introduced in the mid 1800's).  My guess is that PC was the initials of the original owner.  I could possibly tell you more if you were able to open the door.  

When I had an office in Bristol some years ago, we acquired a French safe with a 4 dial lock and even though our technical director was very accomplished at manipulating regular combination locks, he was forced to give up and drill it open - not because these locks were superior, but simply because he had no experience of them.

I suggest you make some enquiries in Barcelona to see if you can locate a skilled safe engineer to manipulate or drill it open.  Once the combination lock is released, the keylock should function.  I would be interested to see the back of the door.  My guess is that it will have flat bolts locking on three sides.

A safe of this age is useless as a security device, but they make very interesting wine cupboards.


Mike Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy

Antique Safes

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Mike Palmer


I earn my living identifying safes and suggesting cash limits for risk advisors and insurance surveyors in the UK. I'm am pleased to comment on safes manufactured in the UK or Mainland Europe but I am unable to accept questions regarding safes made in the USA or elsewhere.


I have been in the UK safe industry for 40 years and have one of the largest archive databases of old safe literature and serial numbers in the country. I started with Chubb in 1960 and became Assistant Manager of their Bank Security Division before moving on to become the Insurance Liaison Manager with the John Tann Group. I became Sales & Marketing Director for Guardian Safes Limited before semi-retiring. I am a Fellow of the Security Institute and ex-Chairman of Eurosafe UK, a trade body representing the interests of UK safe makers and distributors. I now work as a part time consultant.

I am an advisor to the Safe Committee of the Association of Insurance Surveyors, a Fellow of the Security Institute and founding Chairman of Eurosafe UK.

I have had literally scores of articles published in various security trade publications. So far this year I have had 24 features published in various journals including Keyways, Professional Security, Pawnbroker and Safe India. I have published one book, Peckham Boy, the life and times of the world's greatest safe cracker.

No relevant educational credentials.

Awards and Honors
In 1997 I was awarded the annual shield by the Association of Insurance Surveyors for "..outstanding services to crime prevention"

Past/Present Clients
I have represented or been an agent for the John Tann Group (Stratford, Ratner, Dreadnought and Tann safes); Churchill Safes, Chubb Safe Co Ltd, SLS Safes, SMP Safes, Dudley Safes and several others

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