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Antique Safes/Chubb's fire proof safe


Chubb safe
Chubb safe  

First door opened and view of asbestos door
First door opened and  
Dear Mike,
I have an old Chubb safe and I've been reading your comments about this brand. Thanks to you I already know that it was manufactured between 1877 and 1941 because it is signed by Queen Victoria Street.
It has a fire proof door (asbestos door) that has no lock or key. The outside door a rare lock with a key that unfortunately it is missed. Inside it has a drawer with a little key.
It sizes 44 cm wide x 54 cm high x 45 cm deep.
I was wondering if you could provide me with more information about this safe and what it might be worth or if it could be valuable for collectors.
Thanks a lot

Hello Olga,

Thank you for your enquiry and the pictures of your Chubb safe.  I was employed by Chubb for several years and have been part of the UK safe industry for over 44 years.  During this time I have never seen a safe of this age with a second interior door.  This makes it very unusual and very rare.  I can only assume that this safe was specially made and the contents it was designed to secure were of a particularly sensitive nature.

You were right about safes with the Queen Victoria Street address.  These offices were destroyed by fire following an air raid in 1941.

Asbestos is carcinogenic and classed as hazardous.  I now live in Spain but don't know what the law is here, but in the UK, a safe containing asbestos could not be sold. Due to Health & Safety laws it would have to be taken away by specialists trained in handling asbestos and safely destroyed.  In theory this makes it worthless to collectors.

I am not sure what to advise you.  Perhaps in the first instance you should talk to a museum in Madrid to see if they can put you in touch with a specialist there.  In the meantime I would suggest that you handle the asbestos door as little as possible.  I will circulate pictures to other experts in the UK to see if any of them has encountered this type of safe before.  If I learn anything more, I will get back to you.


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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