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Antique Safes/round door safe


QUESTION: Hello, If possible I'd like to know everything you can tell me about the safe in the picture. Like around when it was made and by whom.. Is it up to todays standards, What do you think its worth. And anything else you might care to share about it. I would appreciate your knowledge on the subject.




In order to answer specific questions or to evaluate the container, I would need much better photos.

Based on the photos that you have included, my first impression is that this is a York Safe & Lock Company, Single Bolt, Lug door, square body chest.    The door appears their series 400 line door.
This door may appear to also have 2 upper bolts and 2 lower bolts, however these would not be active locking bolts, these would be relocking bolts, and would fire off, in the event of a burglary.
One of the standard locks used on these doors was the Yale 2421Y, mounted RH, with 3 combination wheels.   These were key change type combination locks.

Obviously as mentioned above, I WILL need much better photos to accurately ID the safe and to confirm this information.

As far as it meeting standards today - the answer is NO, it does not.    While it is a quality burglary resistive safe, it has no fire protection at all.    Because it is obsolete and parts have not been available for over 60 years it has no commercial or retail value at all.    This by no means indicates that it has no value, and if it was in my possession at home, I would not hesitate to use it, however - like Clint Eastwood once said in a Dirty Harry movie - a mans GOT to know his limitations - similarly with safes like this, in order for it to be used, it needs ANNUAL service at a minimum to keep it operational.   Annual means EVERY YEAR!!!   Failure to keep it serviced and in optimal working condition.   NOTE:    This container should NOT be used in a business or retail setting where it is in use every day, other than as a display item!!!!!

If you would like me to look at it further or to evaluate it for you, I would be more than happy to.

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, unless they are very clear and of sufficient resolution.   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.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your help Andy. I did a bit of research and you are right. it seems im missing the round handle for it. do you know where I could find one?


Hi Dan,

You bet - it would be called a "machine shop"!    You are going to have to have one fabricated.    After it is made you can then have it nickel plated so that it looks original.   Depending on the material that the machine shop makes it out of, they might be able to polish it.   Polished Stainless Steel is gorgeous, though hard to work with.

Also, I noticed originally and neglected to mention that the dial on this container is NOT original, it has been replaced at some point, and possibly the lock as well, though I haven't seen this area so I can't answer that.

Check with your local machine shop to find out what it will cost you to have the handle made.    Note:   There are no drawings of the handle that I'm aware of, for them to use to make it for you, which means that all measurements and drawings will need to be done off of your safe, to design and get one which will fit.

Fun project, but it isn't going to be cheap, but I guess cost is relative to the project!    I'm looking at a bathroom remodel early next year that is going to run around $5K to $10K, so I guess spending a $1000 on a handle isn't really that expensive!  

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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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