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Antique Safes/Cool old Hall Marvin Safe



I just acquired this beautiful old safe.

It is a Hall Marvin safe measuring approx 38"wide x 27"deep x 54" tall +wheels.  It is very heavy and appears to be in all original condition with no retouching ever. I have the combination and this safe functions very well.  I wondered if you had any more history for, me maybe age and original manufacturer? It looks to have been used by a company called Morris Hart Ind.

I have read in your other columns that "Hall Marvin Co" was a NYC based distributor-only of safes, so from the pictures can you tell me anything about this safe?  I have sent more detailed images to your email as instructed...  Thank you!!! :)

Hi Jeff,

Here is the response that I sent to you from my email -

Hi Jeff,

Sorry, but you DON'T have a "Hall-Marvin" safe.    This company was simply a distributor and NOT a manufacturer.    They sold safes made by other companies and simply relabeled them for advertising purposes.

Your safe appears to be what we would term a "skeleton" safe, having no insulation at all, and only minimal burglary protection.     It appears to be a Diebold Safe & Lock Company safe, from sometime around the early 1920's.

Without more info about the safe - I can only ball park the age.     Diebold was making similar containers from the 1890's thorough the 1930's - so this safe could have been made at any time during this period.

Morris Hart may have been the original owner - or at least an owner at some point.    You can do some history research on them to see if you can find out when they were in business.

As I don't research distributors, I have no idea when "Hall-Marvin" was in business, but based on the safes I've seen with their logo, I would place them from about 1915 to 1935ish.

Unfortunately this type of safe doesn't have a lot of "collector's value" unless you find someone that is going to use it as a display item, to display other collectibles.

Value on this safe - in current condition would be around:

Fire resistive:      $0   has none
Burglary      $0   doesn't meet current standards
Resale         $0   has no commercial or retail value.   Should NOT be used for overnight storage of cash, jewelry or valuable documents.
Antique/collectible:   $0   Not established as an antique, and too large for collectible.

Even though it has no value under the above categories, this doesn't mean that it has "no value".     If I was going to list it, it would be in the $500 to $800 range.     Restoration will improve its value.

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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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