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Question
I am looking to bid/buy a Herring Safe. It can be seen on LETonlineauctions.com. I have been trying to find info. on this company but have found very little. The marker on the front of the safe says:
Herring & Co. Manufacturers Feb. 7th 1865 40 State St. Chicago Ill.  I have not been able to find anything about this co. in Illinois, only New York and Philadelphia.  So...

Is this a Herring Safe from Chicago from 1865 like the bronze plaque with fish says?  or is this some kind of fake? What kind of value would you give it? 34" tall 24" wide
Thank you! Mark

Answer
Mark,

The Herring Safe Company manufactured safes out of New York City.   Herring had a very good relationship with the Farrel Safe Company, Philadelphia.   They did not manufacturer in Chicago, Ill, this was simply a "sales outlet".

Herring & Farrel formed a co-partnership around 1861 with the firm being known as "Herring & Company.    Between 1869 to about 1881, safes were marked (generally) by which factory they came from, so if a safe was built in the Philadelphia factory, it was listed as a "Farrel & Herring" safe, and if it was out of New York, it would have been a Herring & Farrel" safe.   After Silas Herring's death in 1881, the name was again changed to Herring & Company, and stayed this way until the 1892 merger of Herring & Company (with the Farrel safe works), Hall's Safe & Lock Company, and the Marvin Safe Company, to form Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe company.

The Feb. 7th, 1865 date is simply a patent issue date, and NOT a manufacturing date, though with the "Herring & Company" logo, it would probably been built prior to the 1869 date (though this is more of a generalization, than a hard and fast rule).

Your safe isn't a fake, it simply lists the Chicago outlet for advertising purposes - nothing more, nothing less.   Luckily it also has a key for the main lock, which is known as a grasshopper lock, designed & patented by William Hall in August 1848, and licensed to Silas Herring for manufacturer and use.   Cost to fabricate a key (if lost, could easily run between $350 to $700, and there are only a handful of safe techs that I would recommend to make it.

Safes like this can go at auction for $1000 to $2000, depending on how well they are advertised and how much interest is generated.   If a single safe is at that particular auction, it may generate more interest than if several were offered.

While I would evaluate this safe in the $1500 to $2000 range - in its current condition, ultimately its "CURRENT" value will be determined by what someone is willing to pay at the auction.

Hope this helps,

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

Organizations
Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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

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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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