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Antique Safes/Mosler safe


QUESTION: Friend of mine has a safe with the following info on it:
Cincinati, O.
Chicago, ILL.
This safe is complete with everything except a combination.  It has been lost.
I can take photos and send them to you if necessary; can you give any information as to the opening of it from the information provided?
I am a locksmith, I am not bonded, but I work with Bill Smith in Mauston Wis who has been a bonded locksmith for about 40 years.
Thanks for any info;  Al Banks


The "Amasa Willson" was probably an owner at some point.
The "Warner, Howard & Co., Agts" were the selling agents for Mosler, Bahmann & Company
    HH Warner began selling safes for Mosler, Bahmann & Company around 1870.   By 1879 he had estimated that he had sold over 60,000 safes, worth an estimated $10 Million (at that time).   Unfortunately in order for Warner to have accomplished this, he would have had to sell safes from other companies as well.    
The "Mosler, Bahmann & Company" manufactured safes from 1867 until the mid to late 1890's.

As to opening information - because of the "general purpose" nature and openness of this forum, I do not give out ANY opening information other than possibly the correct dialing sequence of the lock that is, or may be on that safe - for security and liability reasons.
I have no way of knowing who you are, what your authorization to work on the safe is, or intentions towards the safe, and have no way of verifying that info.

There are several Safe Associations and forums which are set up to help with this information.   If you belong to either the National Safeman's Organization (NSO) or the Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA) you can contact them.   If you are a member of ClearStar, you can also run it by a number of safe technicians.          (SAVTA)      (NSO)

If you or Bill are not members of either of these associations, I would recommend that you join NSO as a first choice.   The books and information that you get when you start your membership, MORE than pay for the annual dues, AND you can always contact Dave directly with questions like this.

Sorry I can't be of more help, but I'm sure you understand why.

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QUESTION: Thank you very much, I understand completely.
Can you give me an estimated value of this safe if the paint is in fair condition?
Again,  Thanks, Al.


Basically with the safe locked up - it currently has a negative value (cost to open, repair, recover the combination, and prep it for sale.

Value is based on its overall condition, which cannot be ascertained while it is locked up.

Once it is opened, I would be MORE than happy to look at the safe to see what you have and give you an evaluation of it.

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 Ė 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 donít 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 donít send me ďcell phoneĒ photos.   Also, please donít use online, internet photo drops as most of these also donít 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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