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Antique Safes/CH Griffiths & Sons safe


Outside of safe
Outside of safe  

The brass label on door
The brass label on doo  
My sister has bought a house with a very old CH Griffiths & sons safe in it which she would like to get renovated. DO you know much about the history of such a safe & do you know anyone in the UK who could renovate it?
We have the key & it is in good working order.
Thank you
Lorraine Peterson

Hello Lorraine,

Thank you for your question.

Griffiths were known more as safe distrbutors rather than safe makers.  However, this safe was manufactured circa 1860 and safes of this extreme age have no practical use as security devices.  Generally, these late Victorian safes have little value and if you search ebay for antique safes you will see that the majority sell for around 140 but unfortunately, these larger models are less popular and tend not to sell.  

The lock, bolt-work and hinges can be serviced by any local locksmith and you can find a list at  In order to restore the paintwork the safe would need to be sand-blasted back to the metal and resprayed.  You can probably get some idea of Victorian colours from antique safes featured on ebay, but the cost of refurbishing it is almost certain to exceed its final value.

Safes of this age extreme age are obsolete and easily opened so it is inadvisable to use them to secure cash, valuables or important documents.  Much of the weight of the safe is due to its filling of sand and sawdust.


Michael Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy

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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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