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Antique Safes/Victor Safe


Hello, we purchased a home about 2.5 years ago that came with a large Victor rolling safe. We were given the 3 number combination and for many months we were able to use it just fine.

It has been empty and left open for about a year. We finally had a need to lock some items away for safe keeping and decided to use the use. I was fearful I had forgotten how to use it, so I put it in the locked position while the door is open - wanting to make sure I could unlock it again before shutting the door.

Despite having the 3 number combination, I cannot get the safe to unlock.

I have read your previous answer to another individual and I made sure I'm doing the 4, 3, 2, 1, sequence (counting revolutions of each number to the 12-o'clock marked position).

I also remember you or another expert stating that when you lock the safe you have in effect 'cleared' the dial. That said, what if you've been trying to figure out the combination/sequence and you've been spinning the heck out of the dial - how do you make sure to clear it before each attempt at the combination? Right now I'm just spinning it left/right 10+ times and then starting over. No idea if I'm just making things worse.

Any ideas?

Hi Thomas,

There are ONLY three reasons that a safe lock won't open - in order, they are:
1.   Incorrect dialing sequence, operator errors,
2.   Incorrect combination, wrong numbers,
3.   Mechanical problems

Victor used a couple different locks on their various safes, so the first thing I need to do is to verify WHAT lock you are using.

You may need to send me photos of the lock and dial, so that I can make sure that you are dialing it correctly.

Don't try to apply answers I've given to other questioners about their safe, as their lock may not be the same as yours.

Also, in addition to the photos of your safe and lock, give me the dialing sequence that you are using so I can see if you are making any errors.

Next item:    As none of the victor safes meet ANY kind of current fire resistance standards, and the majority of their safes were fire resistive ONLY - NOT burglary resistive, I'm not sure why you would want to store valuables inside of it.     While you can if you wish, I would recommend that you get a current model burglary and fire resistive safe for any overnight storage of cash, jewelry or valuable documents.

In order to answer questions, identify, evaluate or appraise the “current condition” of your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos (close-ups) should include pictures of the dial, handles, hinges, artwork, locks, bolt work, castors, cabinetry and any special details or damage.  Note:  You may have to remove the back panel on the door to gain access to the lock & bolt work – I will need these pics.

If you have a particular detail that you have a question about, I will need a photo of it along with your question.

I will also need to see any documentation that you have in regards to your safe.  If your safe has a unique historical perspective, you should be able to document this with letters, newspaper articles or photos, if not it is simply a story and will have no bearing on the value of your safe.

Please use as high a resolution as possible so that I can examine details of your safe.  Pictures which are low resolution, out of focus, or from a distance don’t help when we try to evaluate the container.  Note:  with higher resolution, you may only be able to send 2-4 pictures per email, depending on the size of the file, I have a 12mb limit per email.  If photos are larger than 2mb each, you may only be able to send 2 or 3 photos per email, requiring several emails.

Please use a “jpeg” format, not a bitmap (bmp) image.   Also, I don’t like “website” photo dumps.   While it may be an easy place for you to store them, retrieving photos which allow me to zoom in to look at details, takes a lot of extra time.   Please send the requested photos directly to me.

Please send all of the requested photos to:

Note:  As I am in the field several days each week, covering a huge service area, I may not get back to your photos immediately, but I will respond as soon as I get an opportunity.  Due to field work, emails may tend to get backed up which means I may not answer them immediately.

Our informal evaluation is at no charge, however if you feel you need a formal evaluation or appraisal for insurance, estate sales, donations for tax write offs, or to establish it as an antique, there is an administrative fee for this service.  

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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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