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Antique Safes/Hall's Safe Co. April 3 1906 combination

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Safe front
Safe front  

Safe handle
Safe handle  
Hi, my parents inherited a Hall's Safe Co. safe from my great grandpa with his name on it. My grandma gave us what she seems to be sure is the 3 digit combination. However, I cannot get it open. I have tried:

4 times left to first number
3 times right to second number
2 times left to third number
1 time right to last number or until stops

I have also tried RLRL

I still cannot get it open and wonder if I am spinning the dial wrong or not starting on the correct number or miscounting the correct rotations? I'm hoping you might have an idea of what I may be doing wrong.

Also, I was curious as to the value of a safe like this?

Thanks so much for your help!

Jon

Answer
Jon,

There are only three reasons that a safe lock will not open, in order they are:

1.  Incorrect dialing sequence, Operator errors.
2.  Incorrect combination, wrong numbers,
3.  mechanical problems.

You basically have the correct dialing sequences.   The lock that I would expect to find on this safe can be dialed either RLRL or LRLR, though the combination WILL differ for each direction.

While you have the correct sequence, you either don't have the correct numbers (or out of sequence), or you are simply not dialing it correctly.

Make sure that you are NOT counting revolutions of the dial.   Count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.   For instance if your first number is 50, starting dialing left (counter clockwise), stopping the fourth time the number 50 arrives at the index mark - or left to 50 once, 50 twice, 50 three times, stopping on 50 the fourth time.

If you test it both LRLR and RLRL and it still won't open, then you may want to change the number positions and test them.

A "key" comment that you make - "Grandma gave us what she SEEMS to be sure" - doesn't instill confidence in me that the numbers provided are correct.

Unfortunately - you are up to a point that you probably need to have the safe checked out by a trained safe technician to ensure that you are dialing it correctly.   If you are, then chances are the numbers are not correct.    The safe technician should be able to test your combinations out and ensure that you are dialing it correctly and/or open the safe to recover the correct combination.

As far as the "value" of your safe, I would be more than happy to look at your safe, however I won't be able to evaluate it for you until it is open.

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:  andy@securitysafeusa.com

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)

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

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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