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Antique Safes/Samuel Withers safe


I have a Samuel Withers safe, single door about 2' high.

I want to insure the contents but the insurance company tell me it should have some sort of value rating as to how secure it is, or it may be how much it can hold - i dont really understand.  

Any ideas?

Hello Craig,

Thanks for your question.  All cash safes are given a cash rating according to their resistance to attack.  The more resistance they provide the higher the indemnity level. Cash ratings can range from nil to 100,000.  Most insurers take advice on cash ratings from the Association of Insurance Surveyors whose Safe Committee publish an annual Safe List.  This contains recommended cash ratings on literally hundreds of safes both currently in production and those that have been out of production for many years.

Samuel Withers safes tend to be very ancient, many of them dating back to the late Victorian era and obviously they can offer very little protection against modern methods of attack.  These very ancient safes often have no cash rating whatsoever or at very best, a rating of just 1,000.  However, for domestic valuables, this cash rating can be multiplied by a factor of 10.  So if you are not securing cash, you many be indemnified for up to 10,000 in domestic valuables.

In order to advise you further, I would need to see a picture of your Sam Withers safe.  If it is easier, you can send it directly to me at


Mike Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy

Antique Safes

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Mike Palmer


I earn my living identifying safes and suggesting cash limits for risk advisors and insurance surveyors in the UK. I'm am pleased to comment on safes manufactured in the UK or Mainland Europe but I am unable to accept questions regarding safes made in the USA or elsewhere.


I have been in the UK safe industry for 40 years and have one of the largest archive databases of old safe literature and serial numbers in the country. I started with Chubb in 1960 and became Assistant Manager of their Bank Security Division before moving on to become the Insurance Liaison Manager with the John Tann Group. I became Sales & Marketing Director for Guardian Safes Limited before semi-retiring. I am a Fellow of the Security Institute and ex-Chairman of Eurosafe UK, a trade body representing the interests of UK safe makers and distributors. I now work as a part time consultant.

I am an advisor to the Safe Committee of the Association of Insurance Surveyors, a Fellow of the Security Institute and founding Chairman of Eurosafe UK.

I have had literally scores of articles published in various security trade publications. So far this year I have had 24 features published in various journals including Keyways, Professional Security, Pawnbroker and Safe India. I have published one book, Peckham Boy, the life and times of the world's greatest safe cracker.

No relevant educational credentials.

Awards and Honors
In 1997 I was awarded the annual shield by the Association of Insurance Surveyors for "..outstanding services to crime prevention"

Past/Present Clients
I have represented or been an agent for the John Tann Group (Stratford, Ratner, Dreadnought and Tann safes); Churchill Safes, Chubb Safe Co Ltd, SLS Safes, SMP Safes, Dudley Safes and several others

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