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Antique Safes/Halls Floor Safe Patent date 1906

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QUESTION: I am looking at buying a Halls floor safe with a patent date of 1906.  The safe has an exterior combo lock and another smaller safe compartment inside the safe that also has a dial combo lock.  It is 45 inches tall and about 30 inches square.  Both doors are open with the bolts locked in the out position.  Can I determine the combos myself somehow?  In addition, the interior of the safe is in pretty good shape but the exterior in pretty rough, but still has the majority of the gols pinstriping and the Halls logo on the door.  What would be a reasonable price to pay or a safe in this condition?

ANSWER: Hi Larry,

I would be happy to look at the safe for you, but I will need a complete set of photos (see below).

As far as your question concerning the combinations - as long as the safe doors are OPEN, recovering the combination shouldn't be a problem - HOWEVER, I never recommend any kind of lock disassembly as a DIY project for the same reason I don't recommend using most locksmiths for safe work.   Lack of training, knowledge, etc. CAN result in a VERY expensive lockout.   All it takes is a teeny, tiny mistake or misinterpretation of how the lock operates or the numbers that you think will work to lock the safe up.

It is really so much cheaper to have a safe technician check the lock out to ensure proper operation AND to recover or reset the combination, so that you know it will work correctly.

That being said, there are a couple lock models that you can do yourself, though I WILL need to see what you are dealing with first, before I can recommend it as a DIY project.

In order to answer specific questions, identify, evaluate or appraise your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos 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 don’t send me “cell phone” photos, unless they are very clear and of sufficient resolution.   Also, please don’t use online, internet photo drops as most of these also don’t allow me to easily access the photos for examination.   Send the pics directly to me, while this may be more work for you, it will make my job easier.

Please send all of the requested photos to:  andy@securitysafeusa.com

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.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I appreciate your prompt response.  Unfortunately the safe is not in my possession and I have to make a decision tomorrow.  I have seen the safe and both doors were in the open position and the bolts did move in and out with the handle.  They have sense been locked in the bolt out position, with the doors open.  I am looking at around $200 - #$300 for the safe in the as is condition.  I can send you pictures if I buy the safe but am trying to determine if I am taking any risk at that price.  will send a power point file with some pics to your email address, but they are not real good pics.

Answer
Hi Larry,

Unfortunately, without seeing the safe, I can't advise you as to its value - Sorry, my wife broke my crystal ball about the same time that she killed my money tree!   LOL.

As the Hall's Safe Company was only in business until around 1929ish, you know that the safe is (at a minimum) over 85 years old!   The "patent date" was the date the patent was issued, and has nothing to do with a date of manufacture.

Again without actually seeing the condition, I can't advise you, but if you "LIKE IT", in the condition that it is currently in, then I can tell you that the appraisal value will possibly make you even happier.    

In general, I always recommend to both buyers and sellers, you should have three prices in mind when approaching a "negotiation".    The seller should have his "high - asking price", also a "medium - the price he would like", and a "low - minimum you would sell the safe for and still be happy".     Similarly as a buyer you should have your "low - first offer",  your "medium - the price you would like to pay", and your "high - maximum you would buy it for and still be happy".

Some where between YOUR low first offer, and the seller's high - asking price, should be something that you can both live with.

If the seller really needs to sell the safe - then they should be willing to negotiate downward, and if you really want it, you should be willing to go up.

On the other hand, if you have several other safes that you are interested in, you don't have to budge much - HOWEVER, you shouldn't be bidding on items based on "feelings", you need to know your product, so that YOU have a pretty good idea where the price should stand at.

Depending on its condition - the $200 to $300 should be a comfortable price.

Send me all of the requested photos after you buy the safe!

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

Organizations
Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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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