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Antique Safes/Old York Safe


Combination dial
Combination dial  

Closed safe without combination dial
Closed safe without co  
I work in a garage and we needed more room to put a new car lift in and one of the things we did was remove an old York safe that was built into the wall it doesn't have any of the old internal parts and no one knows the combination even if it did have everything intact. I was wondering if I could get a little bit of information on this safe and would it be worth it to rebuild or replace the internals so it can be functional yet again. It is not very ornate by any means but would still get the job done. Outside measurements are 14" x 14 5/8" x 14 3/8". (See pictures) It also has a brass tag on it with the numbers 1274 mounted on the top of the door.


Unfortunately, I'm the wrong guy to ask about "whether it is worth restoring", as my answer is always going to be yes!   But that doesn't give you an answer.

As you have indicated, this round door money chest WAS designed to be installed in a wall.   While it is not a fire resistive safe by any standard, if it was installed in a concrete wall, it would have some insulation, and heat resistance.

Unfortunately, you have several problems with it.    I'm assuming that the door DOES open, as you mentioned all of the "guts" have been removed - so this is a plus.

As far as finding replacement parts this is where you are going to run into your problems.  As York as been out of business since 1959, parts are pretty much non existent.   Unless you find a similar safe to use as a donor safe, you will have to scour locksmith and safe companies looking for parts.    And of course working in a garage, you understand the need to accurately ID WHAT parts you are actually looking for.

So, Plan A, would be to restore it back to original.   If you are unable to find or ID the parts necessary, then you might consider plan B.
Plan B, would be to utilize the basic body and door, and possibly the dial and spindle (which would keep it looking original), but to retrofit a different lock in the body.

Fortunately, (if this is the door I believe it to be), this looks to be the York 400 line door.    The door was a single bolt, 4 or 6 lug bolt design, with 4 relocking bolts, and it used a Yale 2421Y series lock, which is very similar to current S&G 6730 series locks.

This means that it should be fairly easy to mount a working lock, and fabricate all of the missing pieces to get it operational.

As this safe is NOT an antique, and it isn't really considered collectible due to its weight, you aren't going to hurt its value by retrofitting a new lock.   And if you are able to keep the dial the same, virtually no one would ever know it was retrofitted.

If everything is brought back to perfect operation, there is no reason why this safe can't be used as a burglary resistive safe.

I can already anticipate your next question - cost!!!    Unfortunately without having the safe in front of me to anticipate what it needs the best I can do is guess.
Assuming that you need to have all of the bolt work fabricated, and assuming that you want it looking nice enough to display, the body would have to be bead (or sand blasted), and then primered and faired to allow for a nice paint job (gloss black with gold pin stripping).   The door would need to be completely gone over (cleaned, serviced and lubed) and reinstalled and aligned so that it operates correctly.   And finally the new lock fit to the door, with necessary bolt work.    

Again without seeing the door, but anticipating the worst - I would have to guess about $2000 to $2500.   Obviously if you have the capabilities of doing some of these tasks, the price would be reduced, but it gives you a ball park idea.

On the other hand for the same $2500 you can possibly by a nice safe, ready to go - but it wouldn't be as interesting as this one.

Hope this answers your questions and gives you some ideas.

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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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