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Antique Safes/Safe appraisal and purchase


I have a very heavy safe in my basement. It has wheels and still would need 3 men and a leverage devise to move. I would take a photo of the safe, however it is in a closet positioned so that door cannot be opened. The door is against the wall. It does open. I would like for someone to come out and appraise it. And if they were interested I would be willing to sell it. However, getting it out of the basement would not be easy. It will fit out the door and it would fit up the stairs, but I have no idea how it could be lifted out. I am in the a Chicago suburb. Do you know anyone who might be interested. What info can I get you to help you? Not really sure what I will be able to see. I cannot move it.


There are very few "appraisers" in the US.   Most companies are only interested in current model safes.  To them older safes have little to no value, in fact they would charge you to haul your safe away for disposal.

What this means is that if "YOU" want your safe appraised as an antique or collectible, then you WILL have to get the safe into a position where you can take the necessary photos.

If you simply need your safe moved, then you will need a safe company who has the equipment to move a large safe up stairs, etc.   Again, while it is more than possible, there are only a handful of companies in the US that specialize in moving large safes, especially where stairs are involved.

I'm not sure what you are referencing when you question:  "Do you know anyone who might be interested?"   In what?   Buying the safe??  Moving the safe??  I'm kind of confused with what you actually want.

I don't help you sell your safe, if that is the question.   You would need to advertise it on Ebay, Craigslist, local wantads, flyers, etc., to find potential buyers.   However they WILL want the safe accessible to be picked up, which means that YOU will need to have it removed from your basement.

I would recommend your contacting one of the following companies to see if they can help you remove the safe.

Fink Safe & Lock Co., Inc.
2307-11 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647

Professional Safe & Lock Service
414 327 5625
5123 West Howard Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin  53220

If you would like the safe evaluated or appraised, I would be happy to look at it for you, however I will need ALL of the requested photos.  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.  

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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

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