You are here:

Antique Safes/Antique Safe problem


I have a very old safe manufactured by Alpine Lock & Safe Co.  It is approx. 3' high by 2 1/2' wide with 7" metal wheels.  The thing must weigh 1,000 lbs.
My problem is we lost the combination and we are moving.  We have no need for the safe, but believe there may be some paperwork inside that we will need to get out before disposing of it.  Of the little reseach we've done, we believe this safe is from the late 1800's to very early 1900's.  We know it has some antique value, but again we just want to get into it and dispose of it.
I called two locksmiths who said it's scrap and want to charge $350 to $500 to drill it open, and then suggest I take to a junk yard to pay to have it scrapped.  Do I have any other alternatives here?  


Nitro???  There is no secret or great alternative that I can give you, other than you attempting to break it open yourself.  Every day of the week, people are buying little lightweight safes for a few hundred bucks, usually under the belief they will give some burglar protection.  Yes possibly to grade schoolers.  The antique value is probably less than its usable burglary protection value.  Certainly more protection than safes I can pick up and walk away with.  Anyone who opens it for the prices you quote, should be either, picking the lock or drilling AND repairing, leaving you with a usable and possibly salable safe, worth a couple hundred or so.  Even giving it away is better than scrapping it.  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 No longer current.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.