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Antique Safes/Herring Hall Marvin safe



The number 59953 is on the handle. Is this the serial number and can  it be used to determine the age of the safe. The safe is locked and combination is lost. Local inquires indicate $400 to drill it and little or no local demand (north east Arkansas) and therefore little value.
Contents unknown and not expected to be of value but ????.
Any info appreciated. Better photos can be supplied but main interest is info revealed by the serial number if that is it.

Hi Les,

Based on the serial number on your safe it would have been made around 1910ish, so it would be over 100 years old, and therefore an antique safe.

As far as any contents - in general people NEVER abandon safes with "stuff" inside of them.   Chances are you may have an old comb and a couple paperclips.   

as far as value of the safe itself, I would be happy to look at it, however until it is opened it has a negative value.

While this lock CAN be manipulate open, you would need a trained safe technician, and where you are at, you probably arn't going to have any.   In genera, I would recommend that a "fair price" to open AND repair the safe, including mobile service charges should be between $350 to $500 - so the $400 would seem reasonable - HOWEVER - make sure you understand ALL of the charges as many lock & safe companies will have a charge for their "trip to (and possibly from) your location", a charge for opening a safe, and a charge for repairing the safe, plus any parts that are damaged.

I would verify what you are being charged for, and what to expect during and after the service.   If they indicate that they are going to ruin it or aren't going to be able to repair it, then I would not use them.

As this is an obsolete safe, parts are not easy to get, so damage to the lock should not be acceptable (in my opinion).    Drilling the safe, when done correctly by a trained professional safe tech would only involve a single, very small hole, usually 1/4" or smaller, which is easily repairable.

As far as the safe having little value, while this isn't "incorrect", it also isn't correct.   Just like anyother collectible or antique item, there are pluses and minuses, which cause the value to go up and down.    In general the smaller or smallest safes can be much more valuable than a similar larger safe.    People love to show of their collections of several or more, items.    With larger safes, you take up a lot of valuable display room.     Also, larger safes weight considerably more, so costs to move them are incurred.

All in all, whether or not you have anyone interested in your safe, will mainly be dependent on two issues - the actual safe and condition, and more importantly - how well you advertise it.

For instance, at this point - the two main problems your safe has are:
1.   It is locked up!!!
2.   The exterior paint.       The missing hinge acorns can be addressed later.    While it can add to the value to have a complete set, it will also cost to find or have replacements made.

Hope this helps.  

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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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