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I'm in the process of settling my cousin's estate. I have an old Southern Pacific Railroad safe that is functional, doors and combination work well. I need to sell or junk it out. I would appreciate any info you have on the safe and possible value.

Thanks,

Al Slack

Answer
Al,

Sorry, but safes were NOT made for the railroads.   They simply bought what ever was available.   Your safe has been repainted, so unless you actually have documentation of its ownership by the railroad, then at present you don't even have a good story.

Your safe appears to have been manufactured by the General Fireproofing Company.   This company manufactured safes between 1912 to 1940.

Problem - this company was known to have used asbestos as an insulation material.   While asbestos is a great insulator from heat or fire, it is also considered a Hazardous Material (HAZMAT).   Most states and local governments have severe penalties for moving, selling or disposing of HAZMAT items with out following their regulations.    I would recommend that you check your local regulations prior to doing anything with it.

Until you verify (material testing) that the safe has or has no asbestos - it has no value.

These containers are also NOT antique, or collectible.   They do not meet any current standards for fire or heat resistance, and are NOT burglary resistive safes.   They have no resale or commercial value, and should NOT be used for overnight storage of cash, jewelry or valuable documents.

while this does not mean that the safe has no value, just not under any of the categories above, and certainly not until it has been tested for asbestos.

Sorry, for the bad news on this safe.  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

Organizations
Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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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