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Antique Safes/J C Grove safe


I have a safe which has been in the family for about 150 years. It was used until 10 years ago. I have the key. it has been stored in a garage for the last few years so is not in as good condition as it was. I now have to move it so will have to let it go as I have nowhere else to store it.
The writing on it says, J C Grove late with Chubb. Improved fire, burglar proof safe.Defiance Safe works Birmingham.
I would be grateful if you could tell me it has any antique value, and if so possibly how I could best go about selling it. If not and I have to get it taken away do you know what it is likely to be made of then I can gage who to contact and whether they will pay me for it's metal value, or I have to just pay someone to take it away. I have been putting this off for years,but I have to do it now. Many thanks for any information you are able to give.

Hello Janet,

Thank you for your question.

J C Grove was one if a host of small safe makers that blossomed in the late Victorian era.  Unfortunately they don't have a lot of value and I have found scrap metal dealers reluctant to take them as they don't have a big metal content as the body is full of sand and sawdust which makes a mess in their yards.

Antique safes feature regularly on eBay but they have to be in very good condition to sell.  If you check eBay prices ignore the Buy Now items as they always ask far too much and they seldom sell.  Your best bet is probably eBay if you don't set a high reserve, but make sure you specify, Buyer Collects.

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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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