You are here:

Antique Safes/Burke & Barnes Fire Proof Salamander


Hi Doug, I found a Burke and Barnes Fire Proof Salamander in my new house.Assumably it is between 1850-1870 given the information off this website. I was wondering if you know approximately how much it may be worth? It has some rust and has been painted over. Also, I was wondering if you know how I could get a key to use it for myself (safe was unlocked when found). I would have uploaded photos, but my tablet wouldn't let me.

Vada Jo, without a working key and original paint, unfortunately not so much.  Also, the rust with these safes can be a bigger problem than what is immediately observed as I have found that out the hard way.  I would guess around $500, unless it has elaborate decorative castings, which would kick the price up.  Most "salamander" safes have the lock buried under the insulation, and it is a big job to remove and replace.  Key blanks are not available and have to be handmade.  With the lock removed, a plain cobbled together key can be a couple hundred and a decent replica key $500 or more depending on the lock style.  I specialize in making keys of this type, so these estimates are based on my pricing. Making a key just to be able to use the safe is questionable, but generally it is worth doing as a collectable antique safe.  Doug  

Antique Safes

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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 No longer current.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

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]