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Hi there - We have a Herring Hall Marvin Safe in our garage that came with the house. We're interested in opening it somehow, if possible. Initially I'd like to know how much work it would be to determine if it's worth our time - we're willing to put some hours into it, just want to know what the probability of us getting it open is. I've attached some photos of the safe and the pieces we have to work with - unfortunately it appears there is no dial. It's sold concrete all around, it appears, as we were able to pry up the metal casing on top to check. Three of us can't move it an inch - it's a beast. And we're thinking we'll have to use a jackhammer to break it down to eventually move it.

Thanks so much for any advice you can give us on the next steps!

- Jason


Unfortunately, with the dial missing you are pretty much down to two possible solutions, you can either continue to destroy it, until you have it in small enough pieces to scrap or take to the dump, or you can have a safe technician from a local safe company open it for you.

Also, unfortunately, it may be, beyond repairs at this point - its hard to tell how much damage has been done from the photos.

As this company has been out of business for over 60 years, replacement parts are not going to be readily available, and might have to be fabricated or machined.

As far as "value vs what your time is worth",  that is up to you, and what your level of frustration allows.    Once you get past the outer skin, and all of the concrete, you will be up against a thick steel inner shell.   You are not going to simply pry this monster open.

As far as hours - you had better change that to days, depending on what tools you have available.

Cost to have it opened could easily run in the $500 to $850 - with no repairs.

Value after its opened - pretty much $0, unless you have plans for it.

Because of its interior capacity (size), and obsolescence, it has no commercial or retail value.

Sorry wish the news was better.   I'm sure you will have a lot of fun trying to demolish it and/or remove it.

My recommendation, simply pay some one to haul it away for disposal.  

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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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