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Antique Safes/Antique Chubb Safe


full heght photo
full heght photo  

I bought a house a few years ago and it came with a large safe in the garage. I figure it was too heavy for them to take it with them. Its quite old and is unlocked. I dont have the key for it.

I would like to know how old it is and if this is worth anything. Attached is the logo of the badge It has the "Chubb London" sign on it and "sydney,melbourne and new zealand".  Im looking to have it restored, have a key made and make it a conversation piece inside the house. but then again, it might be too heavy and i might have to sell it instead.

Would you know any safe experts here in melbourne australia? anyone who can make a key for it?

Kind regards,

ANSWER: Hello John

Many thanks for your question and the pictures of what we can assume is a Chubb safe.

Chubb safes sold outside of mainland Europe are very different from their domestic product and I am not familiar with this particular model, but from what I can see, it is a 4 corner bent safe.  That is to say that it was made by bending a single sheet of mild steel to form the top, bottom and two sides of the safe.  A back plate was fixed from the rear and the door hung on the front. In the UK, this form of construction was considered obsolete circa 1910.

These old safes aren't worth a great deal but they do scrub up well and are interesting examples of late Victorian engineering (they make good wine cabinets).  Any master locksmith should be able to either fit a new lock or cut keys to the existing lock and I suggest you check out the Master Locksmiths Association of Australia ( - you should be able to find a safe engineer near you.

I have no idea of prices in Australia so if you have to sell it, I suggest you monitor prices on Ebay.  Take no notice of the Buy Now prices; they invariably ask far too much and they don't sell.  If all else fails, there are lots of collectors of safe name plates and yours is very rare and I am sure it would fetch a fair bit from a UK collector.

Good luck,

Mike Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thanks for the quick reply,

looks like id rather restore it myself and spend a bit having it moved to the right spot. Would you have a photo of a similar model or maybe a color code for the paint that i should use. Id like it to be as close to the original as possible. I saw a similar one on Ricks Restoration on tv from las vegas. it was done really well except it didnt look original.

I wouldnt want to sell the name plate as it gives character to the safe.

Thanks for you help. i think it would look great as a wine cabinet.

Kind regards,

Old Chubb Safe
Old Chubb Safe  
Hi John,

The safe was made long before colour codes were introduced, but the majority of safes of that period were finish in black, sometimes with brown or dark maroon panels or gold line work and scrolling.  I attach a picture of a Chubb safe of approximately the same age - it is probably in its original colours.

I'm glad you've decided to keep it.


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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