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Antique Safes/Value of old safe



I have an old combination safe for which I have neither the combination nor key for the inside compartment: the small plaque on the front says, “Walter Ryan Safe Co. 627 Chestnut Street Philadelphia PA.".  As you will note it sits on 4 wheels and there is some rust on it.  Its approximate exterior dimensions are:  22”h x 14 ˝”w x 14”deep.  Its approximate interior dimensions are:  11 ˝”h x 10”w x 11"deep.

I would like to know its age and approximate worth and any other information you can provide regarding its history of use that may be noteworthy.  I am attaching 2 photos, one of the front and one of the inside.  Please advise if you need anything else to provide the information requested.

Thank you!

Michale, since it is open, having the combination reset will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100-150.  It was, most likely, originally sold to a small business for some fire and burglary protection.  It is nothing special and there are thousands like it still around, many no longer used.  Not positive on the make, but it could be a Herring-Hall-Marvin or a Schwab.  100 years or so on the age and in it's current condition, you would do well to get $300-400 for it, and that's with a combination.  Doug  

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Doug MacQueen


This unusual and highly innovative safe from the later 1800's is a Corliss. William, the much younger brother of George Corliss of steam engine fame, spent several years perfecting this design and it was first displayed at the 1876 Philadelphia U.S. Centennial Exhibition. I do extensive patent research helping me in the study of antique U.S. safes and safe locks. Repairs and part making for antique U.S. safes of the early to mid 1800's, both key and combination. Also the study of early round door chest designs up to and including cannonball safes of the early 1900's.


40 years in the lock and safe trade with a stint in bank service work. Openings, repairs and moving of safes of all types.

Charter member Safe and Vault Technicians Association SAVTA, National Safemans Association NSO, National Antique Safe Association NASA. No longer current.

SAVTA monthly magazine

CMS (Certified Master Safecracker- NSO) and CPS (Certified Professional Safe Technician - SAVTA)

Awards and Honors
2nd place national combination manipulation contest 1986 and now in 2016 1st place

Past/Present Clients

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