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Antique Safes/The dreadnaught safe


Hello, I am after some information regarding a safe that I want to purchase.
The only information I really have on it is that it is black with brass lever and brass badge that says "The Dreadnaught" it is in a building that was built in 1871 however I'm not sure what age the safe is. What would be a fair price for me to offer for this? It is in a derelict building with no reserve price. It looks a little rusty and paint worn of here and there from the photos I've seen, I think its a round 3-4 ft tall. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you


Unfortunately, there over 100 small safe manufacturers during the mid to late 1800's, in four cities in England.   All manufacturing virtually identical fire resistive type safes.   With the exception of the name plaque, the handle and the key locks - these safes were so identical, if you removed the identifying items, they would ALL appear to be the same.

Most of the safes made by these companies, were only ship throughout the UK, which provides a couple problems.   As numerous examples of these are found throughout the UK, values are artificially suppressed.   In countries where there are fewer examples, they might get a better price.

Generally these safes go for around 150 to 200 British pounds (around $240 to $320 US dollars), far less than a similar US safe from the same period might be worth.   One big reason is due to strict US patent requirements, most of the US safes were very different from their competitors.   With few exceptions, which usually had approval for use of another's patent, lock designs, body designs, even the material used for heat resistance was designed differently.

In England for example, in most cases, the name plaques may be worth more than the actual safe as a complete unit.   You can check out the following web sites for some examples.

I would also recommend that you contact one of the other experts on this site (allexperts/antique safes), Tom Gordon.   Tom has worked his whole career in England, and specializes on antique English safes, and (by his own account) has the largest collection of safe plaques in the world!

Tom should be able to answer more of your questions concerning this safe.

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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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