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Antique Safes/Yamamoto & Erbie Safe



Dear Terry,
I have a Yaman & Erbie safe that I inherited from a relative. It's six feet tall the combination works and I'm guessing it to be about 50 years old. I have tried to find information on what it's worth so I can  price it accordingly and sell it. I have enclosed photos if you need any additional information please let me know. I would appreciate any feedback you have.
Thank you.

Hi Terry,

Basic history:

Philip H. Yawman and Gustav Erbe.     These two former employees of Bausch & Lomb of Rochester, NY,  formed a partnership and founded their company in 1880.    This company lasted until 1930, and was one of the victims of the Great Depression.    The company was mainly a manufacturer of "filing cabinets" and NOT safes.    All of the safes I've seen from this company were manufactured by someone else and relabeled when sold by Yawman & Erbe.

Your safe appears to be from the "Art Metal Construction Co." (or Art Metal).    This company began as a metal furniture company in Jamestown, NY. in 1888, lasting until the 1950's.

This safe is they type that was used during the 1920's through the  50's, though the lock appears to have been replaced as this is not original.    The carpeted interior is also not original.    With the Yawman & Erbe logo on the safe, it would more than likely have been manufactured between 1920 to 1930.

These containers were STRICTLY fire resistive filing cabinet safes, and have little to no burglary protection.    Also as they are over 50 years old, they do not meet ANY current standards for fire resistance.

This manufacturer was one of about 8 that was known to use asbestos as an insulation material.   Before selling the safe, I would check on your state and federal laws pertaining to the transfer of, selling of, transportation of and/or disposal of HAZMAT items.    Disclosure of HAZMAT items is required by most states for any HAZMAT items.

NOTE:   As long as the container is sealed and there is no access to the insulation material, the asbestos does not pose any immediate health risk, however if the insulation is exposed, AND becomes airborne, it can be a significant health hazard.  

Basic values:

Fire Resistance:          $0     Does not meet any current standards - over 50 years old.
Burglary Resistance:      $0     This is not a burglary resistive container.
Resale:          $0     has no commercial or retail value.   Obsolete container.   Should NOT be used for overnight storage of cash, jewelry or valuable documents.
Antique:          $0     Unit is NOT over 100 years old.
Collectible:          $0     Office equipment - not considered collectible.

While the container doesn't have any value under the above categories, it could still be used as a "general purpose, fire resistive container", but little else.

current selling value would be somewhere between $0 to $300, however if there are any state related HAZMAT issues or transfer fees, this may significantly lower your potential buyer pool.

Sorry the news isn't better.

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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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