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Antique Safes/milners' safe



Hey Mike,

I have come cross a millers brown safe, with " p549 ps244" on top of it, which I think it might be a serial number!
I have the keys, and it works just fine!   I have no  knowledge about this safe at all. I try to get rid of this because we are renovating the house! Just wondering, how much it probably worth?!  I got few more pics but Im only allowed to attach 2!
thanks so much!!

Hello Joanne,

Thank you for your enquiry and the pictures.  Milner's was one of the earliest safe makers and probably the most successful.  The were founded in the mid 1800's and continued well into the 1900's eventually merging with Chatwood to become Chatwood-Milner and finally being acquired by Chubb.

This particular safe was manufactured circa 1910 and this type of construction is referred to a 'four corner banded' safe.  I was made from a single sheet of mild steel bent 4 times to form the top, bottom and two sides of a box.  A back plate was added and a door mounted at the front.  However, this type of safe was very vulnerable to attack using simple hand tools and heavy bands were added to the front and back to cover the weak seams, but it was soon obsolete.

I don't know values of safes in New Zealand so I can only comment with reference to the UK where they are virtually worthless.  Because of their obsolete construction, insurers are reluctant to extend cover to their contents.  They are also very heavy and it can cost more to move them than they are worth.  However, you can almost always find a Milner's safe on eBay and it could be worth posting it for auction, but make sure you state 'collection only'.

Best regards,

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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