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Antique Safes/Looking to find info about john tann safe


Hello, I'm messaging from nova Scotia and I received a john tann London (list patentee c) after the passing if my grandfather, I haven't been able to find out any info about the safe or its history. The serial number is 12659.
It would be great if you could help out with some info or steer me in the right direction about the safe
Thanks for your time

Hello Todd,

Thank you for your question.

The Tann List C dates way back to the late Victorian era, far beyond my archives which start at List K.  However, if you are able to send a couple of pictures I will be able to tell you something about its age and some background on John Tann's history.  I would be helpful to have two pictures; one showing the entire front of the safe including the hinges, and one with the door open to reveal the door thickness and the bolt-work.  It is also worth looking for a serial number - possibly on the end of one of the moving bolts.

If it is easier,you can send pictures direct to


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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