Hello, I have this old metal trunk safe that my dad had gotten when I was a little kid. I am now 28. We have never known anything about it, and it has just been sitting in the garage ever since we got it. I was wandering if you could give me some information about it. Value, Rarity, Year, Etc. The trunk is very heavy and is all around still solid. Nothing is missing except the key. But i can still turn the key hole and the locking mechanism still moves freely and locks. I took the mechanism out so that I could unlock it because I turned the key hole to many times and it locked. It seems to have a three combination locking mechanism on there. Is it also possible to learn the code for it if I bring it to a reputable locksmith? I would like to find a key for it also, but if I come up empty handed it looks like I would be able to fabricate one easily with some rod and grind it down and make an ear on it. Thank you for your time and look forward to hearing back.
Answer Hi Shane,
I'm not sure where you came up with the "John Morrison" or the "Trunk Safe" description, but neither applies to this container as far as a manufacturer or type of container. I would need MUCH better photos to try to ID the container for you however several come to mind including Victor Safe & Lock Co., and/or Hall's Safe Company.
These "Field Chests" were built prior to WWI and through the end of WWII. They were built by several different manufacturers though the US Military wanted them all to meet a "standard specification", so many of them WILL appear to be identical, thought they aren't quite.
While the military was by far the largest user of these containers, they were also used by many other companies for many purposes, where they needed to transport or secure valuables. The Military used them in the field for anything from cash to binoculars and pistols. Chains would be run through the handles to lock them down.
As far as value, it depends on condition, when it was built etc. etc. etc. Generally these containers will have the most value to military type collectors. Generally they are valued between $100 to $500 depending on age and condition. Obviously not having the keys and combo will lessen the value of the container, though while getting them both will improve it, it will also cost $$$'s, so other than having a working container its kind of a toss up if you are only considering value.
While these containers are not readily available on the market, they are not rare. I see several each month from people just like you looking for info or values. So there are still plenty of them available.
Note: While I don't normally recommend using locksmiths for safe work, as you need keys made for the lock, this may be prudent, however I would recommend that you actually look for a safe company rather than a strictly locksmith company, as they will probably have a well trained locksmith on staff that can make keys for your lock. Worst case if you can't find someone, you can always ship the lock to me to have keys made.
They will also be able to either recover or reset the combination for your lock.
You can also attempt to hand make a key based on the method you are describing, however I'm not sure why you would go through so much work when it can be done much simpler. However I'm never one to dissuade someone from their projects.
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