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Antique Safes/Old safe with oval panels on door


QUESTION: I have this old safe that was given to me if I could move it.When I saw it I had to bring it home.I saw a post with the same safe that you reviewed.It may not be the same but mine has the two square panels with the two oval panels on the door. it has the cast roping with scallops in corners,it also has six square panels on each side and two on top and back. on the top front it says Mason Contractors,in the first oval I can make out Bahm then missing two or three letters then & the bottom of that oval it says cincinnati.o.The lower oval says some name and sons all I can see is the and the bottom of that oval it says cleveland.o.I am just trying to figure out how old this safe is and who made it. the safe has a brass knob that has number 3010 on it and a combo lock that I do have the combo for and works well.I have looked at thousands of old safes online and have only seen a similar one that you have reviewed.any info will help.I do not know how to send pics  but I do have plenty I will try to figure that out.     Thanks.    Bob

ANSWER: Bob, sounds like you found a good one.  I have seen only a couple that have round or oval panels.  From your info, it is probably a Mosler Bahmann, a Cincy company in business from 1868 to 1897, although for the first two years of business, the company was known as the Union Safe Co.  The earlier ones use Sargent & Greenleaf locks, while the later used Yale locks, so the safe was 1870's or 80's. I don't know your plans, but safes with that type of decorative casting are worth restoring.  Matt Lamborn, just outside of Ashland,OH, does great work if you are interested.  Doug

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QUESTION: Thanks for the fast response Doug!    I am not sure what to do with this safe,probably can't afford a restoration maybe just hang on to it until  I can.If you could send me Matt lamborns info I will look into it,dose he have a company name?Now that you have told me the makers name I can make it out on the top oval.What do you think this thing is worth and how much dose a restoration usually cost?I have seen estimates at 3500 for safe restorations is it even worth that?I am new in this game as this is the first and probably last safe I will ever have like this.Anyway I think it is really cool and appreciate the info you have provided I will try to send some images.

Sorry for the delay here.  As to it's value, like I said those models are rare, kicking it into the collectable arena.  Yes, restorations can be quite expensive, but in your case I think it's worth considering.  Matt has a Facebook page so Google for Matt's safe restoration.  419-606-3168  You can also see other restorations on Bob Stabley's L.A. Safe restorations page.  Doug

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Doug MacQueen


This unusual and highly innovative safe from the later 1800's is a Corliss. William, the much younger brother of George Corliss of steam engine fame, spent several years perfecting this design and it was first displayed at the 1876 Philadelphia U.S. Centennial Exhibition. I do extensive patent research helping me in the study of antique U.S. safes and safe locks. Repairs and part making for antique U.S. safes of the early to mid 1800's, both key and combination. Also the study of early round door chest designs up to and including cannonball safes of the early 1900's.


40 years in the lock and safe trade with a stint in bank service work. Openings, repairs and moving of safes of all types.

Charter member Safe and Vault Technicians Association SAVTA, National Safemans Association NSO, National Antique Safe Association NASA. No longer current.

SAVTA monthly magazine

CMS (Certified Master Safecracker- NSO) and CPS (Certified Professional Safe Technician - SAVTA)

Awards and Honors
2nd place national combination manipulation contest 1986 and now in 2016 1st place

Past/Present Clients

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