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Antique Safes/J. Tann Safe


Large Tann Safe
Large Tann Safe  

Both Tann & Chubb Locks
Both Tann & Chubb Lock  
Hi Mike,
I thought you might be interested in this Tann safe.

I have been working with locks and safes for almost 15 years now and have recently discovered a passion for Antique Safes & Locks :)

The main door has 2 large Tann locks, Top compartments have Tann locks connected to the bolt work, Draws have small Tann locks, Lower internal safe doors have both tann & chubb locks!

The locks are just amazing.  

My intention is to restore the safe (eventually).

Your feedback would be appreciated

Hello Andrew,

Good to hear from someone with a love of antique safes.  I have never been an engineer or technician of any sort but simply provide a safe identification service mainly for insurance surveyors and underwriters, so I can't say very much about your old Tann safe.  

From what little I can see of the body it looks like a four corner bent safe made circa 1890 to 1910.  It is interesting to see two inner safes at the bottom and a lockable coffer at the top - it was presumably a 'special'.  It looks like the second lock was retro-fitted.

There were a considerable number of Tann imitators so John Tann include their anchor trade mark in their badge and referred to all their products as John Tann Reliance Safes.  If it doesn't have the anchor or the word Reliance it could be a false Tann.

Unfortunately all the Tann archives where 'lost' when they were acquired by Gunnebo but if you can find a serial number anywhere, I could at least tell you when it was made.

If you found this information useful, perhaps you could spare a moment to rate this answer.


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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