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Antique Safes/Hall's Safe & Lock Co.


I came acrossed this safe at an auction and bought it.  I loved the spiral detail around the face of it along with the paint job.  The few questions I have are:
1) Is it possible to find out the year it was made?
2) Even though I don't have any plans on selling it and knowing that so many safes differ in their own unique way, is there a way to place a value on it?
3) Becasue my goal is to display it in my home as a kind of conversation piece, would I be ruining any value it would have by restoring it?
4) Are they expensive to restore and could you possible point me in the right direction on where I could find a place to do it? (Cincinnati, OH)
All I know of the safe is that it is on four wheels but extremely heavy. The tumblers are with the safe but not installed. The paint on the outside reads "Halls Safe & Lock Co." "Cincinnati and New York". The inside you should hopefully see in the attached photo.
Thank you very much for any info you can give!!!
Sincerely ,


The "spiral detail" you refer to is called "rope".

Restoration will not destroy the value of the safe.   Correctly restoring it will enhance the value, incorrectly restoring it may lessen the value.   Problem is there are very few places in the entire US that do safe restoration work.   This means you have several choices, travel or ship the safe to someone who does restoration work on safes.   Problem is that most of these guys are more interested in selling the safes that THEY have restored than working on a customers safe, for a couple reasons.   1.  someone buying one of their safes, buys it "as is", 2. customers needing restoration often have expectations which they may not have the ability to meet.  (read "pain in the ass"!)

The nearest company that I know of to you would be:
Matt's Antique Safe Restoration
419-606-3168     Matt lamborn
Ashland, OH
you can see him on facebook or call him to discuss your project.

As far as "how expensive" will the restoration be???   Depends on what you have done.   Sometimes cleaning the old varnish off, and revarnishing it is all that is necessary.   Some Paint touch up to the original art work can be done at the same time.   missing pieces like hinge acorns (finials) can be manufactured.   Handles, dials & rings, and bolt work can be replated.   Cabinetry can be refinished or replaced.
We just completed an exterior restoration, complete custom paint job, including repainting, which was just under $4000.

Second option would be to check with a local college or university art department to see if they would be interested in taking on your safe as a restoration project.   May take a lot longer, but may be much less expensive.   You can discuss exactly what you want restored with them, though you may not have control over the project.

last option would be a DIY project, though this would depend on YOUR capabilities.   For items that you do not have the skill set for, you can sub the work out, like replating of items.

While the "patent date on the safe is 1849, the safe was probably made during the 1850's.

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.

If you are interested in antique safes, just as an FYI, there is an upcoming auction of antique safes only, the end of March, at Morphy's Auction House, Denver, PA on the 30th of March, 2013.   Over 100 rare and antique safes will be on the block.   Bids will be taken on site, or via internet & telephone with prior reservations.    Hope to see you there.  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland Safes from the 1860'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.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. 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. 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

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 - 2013 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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