You are here:

Antique Safes/how to move a safe


I have a safe in my basement that came with the house I bought two years ago.  The previous owner indicated that it came with the house when they purchased it as well.  It is open and appears is ok condition.  I'm not sure about selling it but definitely want to get it out of the basement and out of the little closet it is in.

I think from looking around online that it may way between 3 and 5000 pounds.  How is something like this lifted and moved.  Once mobile I have to move it up two steps and across a room with a wood floor to get it out of the basement.

Once its out of the house what should I do with this thing?  Are there interested parties that would want this type of antique?  Someone that would come get it or somewhere I could take it?


Sorry, but for liability reasons we do not give out instructions on moving heavy safes or equipment.

To most people 500 lbs is a heavy safe, and without proper training, tools and equipment even THIS "light" weight, can kill or severely injure.   when you multiply that factor by 10 to come up to 5000 lbs, you aren't incrementally increasing the odds of injury or death - they increase by factors of 10.

what this means is that 5000 lbs, can kill you at least 100 times quicker, and there are no injuries.   Where 500 lbs can crush your hand, 5000 lbs will take your whole arm off.

Last year in Colorado, 4 professional safe movers were installing a large safe in a bank, when they made a mistake and the safe fell on one crushing him, and trapping the other three in a room.   The three were forced to sit and watch their friend die, until the fire department could free them from the room, and they were able to get tools and equipment to get the safe off of their dead friend.    These guys were trained and had the proper equipment.

So the only advice I can give you is that you need to find a trained, qualified safe moving company to have them do the work.   Your chances for successfully moving this safe out of the basement will improve dramatically.

Obviously the cost to move a heavy safe out of the basement, may not be cheap.    If you are trying to save money by doing it yourself - it isn't worth the risk.

As far as selling the safe once it is out of the house, obviously I would have to see the safe to determine its potential value.   Generally safe companies don't simply "take" old safes off of your hands.   There will still be a fee to remove it, and possibly one to dispose of it.    while they may ultimately decide to restore and/or sell it - they are in the business to make money, so be prepared to pay someone to take it off your hands.

If you are successful in having the safe removed from the basement, and after having it appraised you may still want to sell it.   You have several options available - but unless you have a place to store it, time is not going to be on your side.    you can advertise on Ebay, Craigslist, or with local advertisers.   You can use a local antique dealer to sell the safe, or possibly an auction house - those dealers and auction houses usually have at least a 30% commission on items they sell for you.

I wish the news was better, but I'm sure that you understand why I can't simply give out the info you are requesting.   As this is a general forum, others reading it may decide to attempt this type of work, unsuccessfully, and of course seek help from lawyers, for their irresponsible behavior.   I'm personally not interested in making either them or their lawyers richer.

Good luck, and check for a local safe company that is qualified to move your safe.

Antique Safes

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2017 All rights reserved.