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Antique Safes/Replacement keys


I have a Frederick Whitfield Safe, but have lost the key,
The only identifying marks seem to be stamped across the top frame edge  as a series of 2 or three numbers.

is it possible to obtain replacement keys?



Hi Stuart,

Thanks for your question.  If the safe is unlocked, a Master Locksmith will be able to cut a new key or fit a new lock, compete with new keys.  Safe keys cannot be cut to a registered number.

If the safe is locked, you will need a safe engineer to drill or pick it open, then fit a new lock.  As Whitfied safes are usually over 100 years old and have no practical use, this will almost certainly cost more than the safe is worth.

If you would like to tell me where you are located, I will suggest the name of a suitable safe engineer who would be able to assist you.

Best regards,

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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