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Hi Mike,

I recently acquired this safe and was just wondering if you have any idea the age and value. The bottom bolt has the numbers 42292 or 422.92.

The safe measures 20" tall by 14" wide by 14" deep.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Regards Dean

Hello Dean,

Thank you for your question and the pictures of your Chubb safe.  The serial number confirms the year of manufacture as 1895, so very late Victorian.

The name plate contains their address at 128 Queen Victoria Street, London.  These premises were destroyed by a fire storm following an air raid in 1941 and never re-built.

This form of construction is known as 'square cornered'.  Separate mild steel sheets were riveted or screwed to an angle-iron frame thereby creating sharp 90 degree corners, hence the name.  I am surprised by the date as this type of safe construction had largely disappeared by 1890 in favour of bent steel bodies.

The body cavity is filled with sand, sawdust and alum. This was a primitive form of fire resistant filling.  Over the years this loose fill leaks and compacts, greatly reducing its effectiveness.  

In the UK these safes are worth very little as they cannot be used for security purposes as the body seams are easily prized apart.   However, they may be worth something in the USA where they will not be so common and the name Chubb is known throughout the world.

They scrub up nicely and if the brass plate is polished up and the safe sensitively repainted  it would make an excellent curio and a good place to keep a bottle of single malt whiskey.

Good luck,

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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