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Antique Safes/Barnes Safe


Front of Safe
Front of Safe  

Back of front door
Back of front door  
Hello.  I've read some of your past answers to people who have similar safes, and I wanted your opinion as well.  This safe belonged to my Great Grand Father and was given to me when I bought the property.  His house was built in 1860, but I'm not sure when they added the safe.  I noticed the spelling of Pittsburg on my safe is missing the "h" and was wondering if that increased the value.  The safe is located in Pennsylvania and I am currently in Tennessee so I cannot take the cover off the front door to show the inner workings.  I can say that the safe DOES work, it locks and the wheel spins freely to enter the combination.  It unlocks smoothly and everything seems to be fine with it mechanically.  The picture on the front if faded badly and there are numerous nicks and chips in the paint.  There is also some rust on the wheels and bottom of the safe.  The decorative caps on the hinges are also stripped out on the top and basically just sit in place.  I am including pictures and would like your opinion as to the price range I could be looking at if I sold it.  I have other pictures of the interior if you would like to see them.  Thanks in advance for your time.


I start with the spelling of the name "Pittsburg" (without the "H").   Sorry but no, this won't add any value as this was NOT a misspelling.

Pittsburgh was originally named with its present spelling 22 April, 1794.  It was briefly referred to as Pittsburg in the mid to late 1800’s (around 1859-1911).  The name Pittsburgh was officially restored in 1911, though examples of the spelling without the “h” can be found in many newspapers printed through at least 1916, illustrating the resistance to change.

As far as the "value" of the safe, I would be more than happy to do an appraisal of it for you, however I "DO NOT" do appraisals with out seeing the safe, and a couple photos doesn't do it.  The reason being, I do appraisals for both buyers and sellers.   If I do an appraisal for you based on one or two photos, and then a potential buyer sends me the complete listing of photos, the appraisals would not match based on the differences in conditions.   If I give two completely different appraisals for the same safe, people would no longer trust any of my opinions.    I have to be as unbiased as possible, and any appraisals of the same safe, regardless of who is requesting it, should be very close to identical.

While I do realize the difficulty and distance that you are presented with, it doesn't change the photos that I will need.   Some of the reasons that I do need the photos from inside the door is to examine the condition of the insulation material, and the condition of the lock and bolt work, and to ensure that the correct items are present.    Many times pieces and parts are replaced or repaired which can affect the value of the safe.    If you are not able to provide the photos, perhaps you can have someone who is closer to the safe get them for you.

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 – 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 don’t 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 don’t send me “cell phone” photos.   Also, please don’t use online, internet photo drops as most of these also don’t 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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