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Antique Safes/Mosler safe info



So i just got a safe that has been in my family since it was new. i have done some research based on the serial number and think it is from 1905 but looking for a little more info.

Was this targeted as a personal safe or used for buisness? I have the combo but can it be changed? How secure are these older safes from people breaking into them and fire? Given the safe is in decent condition is it better to leave it as is or have it restored?

Pictures attached and Measurements are: 29.5h x20w x17d

Thank you very much for your time.


I'm not sure where you did your "research" on the serial number, as Mosler never published any listings of the serial numbers or when the safes were made.   There was one posting which was based on a 1940's listing which was pieced together by some locksmiths, and is incorrect with numerous major errors.   To my knowledge THAT listing was pulled, though it may still be floating around.

I'm also not sure why you "blacked out" the information which was on the safe (serial number and original owners name), as this is info that I would use to "narrow down" a time frame of possible dates of manufacturer.

Next item,   Safes were NOT "targeted" towards a particular type of owner.   Generally smaller safes would have been for smaller businesses or personal use, though personal use, could mean at home (residential), or IN a business.

As for your question concerning "security".   This safe was designed as a "FIRE resistive" safe, with little burglary resistance.   Even though in the late 1800's and early 1900's, tools were not as effective or as easily to obtain as they are now, and so this safe would probably have resisted MOST burglary attempts - HOWEVER, if you notice that this little safe is on wheels - how secure would a safe be, that can easily be "ROLLED" away by a thief.   This safe was designed for FIRE resistance or document protection.

Fires were a much bigger threat during this time (1840's through 1920's) than burglaries, so it was very important for businesses and/or businessmen to have safes to keep documents and records of their business safe.   In many cases you were able to rebuild the business after a fire, by the documents which were saved by the safe.

As far as its "current" security level - this container does NOT meet any standards for fire or burglary resistance and SHOULD NOT be used for overnight storage of cash, jewelry or any valuable documents.   It has NO commercial or retail value.   This piece would be either an antique or collectible (depending on its actual age), and should only be used as a low value storage container or a display item.

As to restoration work - UNLESS it is documented AND historical item, then having restoration work done is usually a plus - ASSUMING of course that it is done correctly.
Generally most people are NOT going to collect more than one or two safes, so restoring it so that it is something that the owner will want to look at and/or show off is always a plus.

As yours is in pretty nice condition, probably the most work I would recommend would be to have the exterior repainted.   It currently shows a lot of wear and paint damage.  As THIS is going to be the first thing that anyone sees, it does affect the value.

what other questions do you have???

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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

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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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