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Antique Safes/antique York safe


Terry,I just purchased a York cannonball safe, would like to know about what year it is? if there would be any place I might find one of the black handles(as you can see in pic one is not original)also what would be the original paint code for this York safe and is there a site that could guide me on how to set the combo for the upper door,It is open....thanks Rod I can send more pics if you can send me your e mail


I would be happy to take a look at your safe - no pictures were attached here.   

As far as replacement parts - good luck.   There are no original's left anywhere except on another similar safe.   As the manufacturer has been out of business since they were acquired by Diebold around 1945 and the factory subsequently closed down in 1959, there is no source.

what this means is that if you need parts and don't have a donor safe, then you will need to have similar or replacement parts fabricated.

As far as painting the safe and having an "original paint code" - color codes didn't start until around 1930!    In general, most manufacturers had several standard colors.   While other colors might have been available or used, these were usually special orders.

Standard colors would be black, brown, silver, olive green.    Combination colors would be trim one color with panels another color.    Pin striping and lettering would be a yellow or silver color.   "GOLD" leafing was NOT used as a standard.   If it was used at all, it would have been a special order.   Generally what people assume to be "gold leafing" is simply the old yellowed, krazed, varnish, making the yellow or silver colored paint appear more golden.

As far as "age" of your safe - The "Ely-Norris Safe Company" was acquired by York around 1912.   These Ely-Norris cannonball safes were continued under the York label into the early 1920's.   So to have a York logo, your safe would have been made between 1913 to about 1923.

As far as a "site" to guide you through setting the combination - sorry NO!    First off, I NEVER recommend combination setting as a DIY project for the same reason that I never recommend using locksmiths for safe work - lack of training, knowledge and tools CAN and does result in extremely expensive lockouts.   In the case of a York cannonball safe, in many cases I would not even recommend using a trained safe technician - the reason being that there are few safe techs throughout the country that are familiar with these safes and/or these locks.
You will need a safe technician who IS familiar with this type of safe.

I would be more than happy to look at your safe to answer questions about it or to evaluate it for you.   

In order to answer specific questions, identify, evaluate or appraise your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos should include pictures of the dial, handles, hinges, artwork, locks, bolt work, castors, cabinetry and any special details or damage.  Note:  You may have to remove the back panel on the door to gain access to the lock & bolt work – I will need these pics.
If you have a particular detail that you have a question about, I will need a photo of it along with your question.

I will also need to see any documentation that you have in regards to your safe.  If your safe has a unique historical perspective, you should be able to document this with letters, newspaper articles or photos, if not it is simply a story and will have no bearing on the value of your safe.

Please use as high a resolution as possible so that I can examine details of your safe.  Pictures which are low resolution, out of focus, or from a distance don’t help when we try to evaluate the container.  Note:  with higher resolution, you may only be able to send 2-4 pictures per email, depending on the size of the file, I have a 12mb limit per email.  If photos are larger than 2mb each, you may only be able to send 2 or 3 photos per email, requiring several emails.

Please don’t send me “cell phone” photos.   Also, please don’t use online, internet photo drops as most of these also don’t allow me to easily access the photos for examination.   Send the pics directly to me, while this may be more work for you, it will make my job easier.

Please send all of the requested photos to:

Note:  As I am in the field several days each week, covering a huge service area, I may not get back to your photos immediately, but I will respond as soon as I get an opportunity.  Due to field work, emails may tend to get backed up which means I may not answer them immediately.

Our informal evaluation is at no charge, however if you feel you need a formal evaluation or appraisal for insurance, estate sales, donations for tax write offs, or to establish it as an antique, there is an administrative fee for this service.  

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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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