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Antique Safes/Is this a genuine Felix Allard safe cabinet?

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Question
Lock box
Lock box  

door mechanism
door mechanism  
I was recently offered this lockbox/safe cabinet as part of a business transaction and so I wish to ascertain whether it is genuine and whether its value is even remotely close to the value suggested. (The seller is claiming he paid $3000AUD for it from an antique dealer in the Netherlands.)

It seems to be made at least partially of timber and is clad in sheet steel (perhaps 1.6-2mm thick). It features 4 alphabetical brass dials and 2 key holes positioned behind the dragon ornaments to either side (although one keyhole seems to be missing its internal mechanism).

The brass makers mark plate on the front reads:
FELIX ALLARD
Constructeur Mecanicien.
8. Boulevard St Martin. 8
(I can provide an additional photo of this if it is of use)

My preliminary research (google) has only revealed a couple of safes (no cabinets) made by this maker and they are significantly more heavy duty than this piece.

The seller does have the combination but it seems that it will not open without the key as well. He claims he has had the cabinet openend in the past but has since misplaced the key (possibly inside the cabinet). Due to this i cannot ascertain wall thickness, or any other interior details.

Any information or leads you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time.

Answer
Hello Elliot,

Thank you for your interesting enquiry.  

For many years I worked in an office that had and antique French safe very much like the one in your photographs.  When opened it had the msot elaborate and beautifully made bolt-work.  It was valued at circa 2,000.  I am not familiar with this particular manufacturer and as I am currently out of the UK for a few weeks, I don't have access to all my contacts.  When I return in early July, I will send the pictures to some colleagues in France and ask for their comments.  I will get back to you once I have heard from them.

Best regards,

Mike Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy  

Antique Safes

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Mike Palmer

Expertise

I earn my living identifying safes and suggesting cash limits for risk advisors and insurance surveyors in the UK. I'm am pleased to comment on safes manufactured in the UK or Mainland Europe but I am unable to accept questions regarding safes made in the USA or elsewhere.

Experience

I have been in the UK safe industry for 40 years and have one of the largest archive databases of old safe literature and serial numbers in the country. I started with Chubb in 1960 and became Assistant Manager of their Bank Security Division before moving on to become the Insurance Liaison Manager with the John Tann Group. I became Sales & Marketing Director for Guardian Safes Limited before semi-retiring. I am a Fellow of the Security Institute and ex-Chairman of Eurosafe UK, a trade body representing the interests of UK safe makers and distributors. I now work as a part time consultant.

Organizations
I am an advisor to the Safe Committee of the Association of Insurance Surveyors, a Fellow of the Security Institute and founding Chairman of Eurosafe UK.

Publications
I have had literally scores of articles published in various security trade publications. So far this year I have had 24 features published in various journals including Keyways, Professional Security, Pawnbroker and Safe India. I have published one book, Peckham Boy, the life and times of the world's greatest safe cracker.

Education/Credentials
No relevant educational credentials.

Awards and Honors
In 1997 I was awarded the annual shield by the Association of Insurance Surveyors for "..outstanding services to crime prevention"

Past/Present Clients
I have represented or been an agent for the John Tann Group (Stratford, Ratner, Dreadnought and Tann safes); Churchill Safes, Chubb Safe Co Ltd, SLS Safes, SMP Safes, Dudley Safes and several others

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