Antique Safes/Old Schwab?.....
I picked up this old safe at an estate sale and I hear that you're the man I need to speak with. After poking around online for a few days looking at pics of various old safes, I believe it to be an old Schwab with some sort of Yale lock. Am I even close to being correct? There is multiple layers of paint covering the original finish so I can't find any distinguishing markings on the safe itself but the handle has 25 1458 stamped on it and the inside of the door has 545 hand written on the concrete behind the door panel. What do you think these numbers might represent? I don't know the combination but the previous owner had taped the three wheels of the lock in the open position, so for now, I can open and close the door without it locking me out. I plan to take the door to a safe tech to find out if the lock is operational. If its not, do you know anyone who sells old replacement parts or entire lock assemblies? I love this thing and I do not plan on selling it so I'm not too concerned about its value. I just want some general info about the age, make, and any helpful tips on restoring it to its former glory. I would appreciate your expert incite on this awesome new/old addition to my home. Please instruct me how I can provide you with more pics so that you can accurately identify any important details.
Thank you much
I've looked at your photo, and this does appear to be an early Schwab safe. as far as the numbers on the handle, the 1458 is the serial number, but I haven't been able to figure out what the 25 indicates. I have seen numerous Schwab safes with various numbers such as 10, 30, 50, 80, but it doesn't seem to match model numbers or sizes - so I'm not sure what they were using this particular reference for. Also, the numbers written inside the safe doesn't appear to have any corelation to the numbers on the handles. Unfortunately, there are no records from Schwab to help us with this. As they were acquired by Sentry Group (Sentry safes), they only maintain records over the last 10 years (or less).
There is no "aftermarket" sourcing for ANY lock parts. While some larger safe companies to collect parts from safes which are being scrapped, there is no "inventory" of any of these parts, and no one is in the business of making new replacement parts. The cost to open a business like this and the cost of the replacement parts isn't justified by the very few owners like yourself looking for a few items.
You will simply have to start contacting every lock and safe company until you find the parts that you are looking for. As you haven't had the locking mechanism even looked at yet, I'm not sure why you want to start looking for parts which you may not need. Cross that bridge when you come to it.
As far as information on the safe, I will need to see much better photos. Regardless of whether or not you want it appraised or or simply evaluated, I will need the same photos. We should be able to narrow down the age of the safe, once I get the better photos.
As far as any history - while I can give you a basic history of this company - if you are looking for your safes "individual" history, you will have to trace it back through previous owners. There are no records available (for obvious security and liability reasons) which would list who owned a particualar safe, where it was kept, or what was kept in it.
NOTE: Any stories or history connected to your safe should be documented. If you don't have documentation, then they are simply interesting stories and have no bearing on its value.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.