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Antique Safes/old hhm safe


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QUESTION: I was wondering about how old this safe is and if you could possibly give an approximate value. Any history of these safes that you would like to pass along?

ANSWER: Zach, Herring-Hall-Marvin was the result of a merger of 3 large safe companies near the end of the 1800's.  Actually there were a couple more minor companies involved but the big 3 names were retained.  All 3 of these companies had already been in the safe business for over 50 years.  Another large old competing safe company, Diebold bought out HHM in 1959.  Your safe, being the old style cast iron type, would date it from the turn of the century to around the 1920's. HHM made a lot of different safes and your's would have typically been for a small business or large house for both fire and burglary protection.  Generally speaking, old safes of this type and age are a dime a dozen, however small ones like yours tend to be a bit more attractive to buyers. I would think the safe is worth at least $500 in todays market.  Doug     

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QUESTION: Thank you for your input doug, that is great news to me. I pulled it out of a basement in a house and was reluctant enough to get the combination from the owner. I did a little research myself and found the serial number to be 2249. Did these serials start at 1 and go up? The inside appears to be all original with a divider and 2 small lock boxes on the left hand side.i also have both keys to these lockboxes. Do you know if there is a museum that would be interested in a donation of a piece like this?

On the serial number, I am positive about only one maker, Corliss and they started with No. 1.  But that is not to say HHM did.  In fact I wouldn't be surprised if they started with 1001.  Your safe isn't quite what the Smithsonian is looking for, but you might something in your area.  Doug  

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Doug MacQueen


This unusual and highly innovative safe from the later 1800's is a Corliss. William, the much younger brother of George Corliss of steam engine fame, spent several years perfecting this design and it was first displayed at the 1876 Philadelphia U.S. Centennial Exhibition. I do extensive patent research helping me in the study of antique U.S. safes and safe locks. Repairs and part making for antique U.S. safes of the early to mid 1800's, both key and combination. Also the study of early round door chest designs up to and including cannonball safes of the early 1900's.


40 years in the lock and safe trade with a stint in bank service work. Openings, repairs and moving of safes of all types.

Charter member Safe and Vault Technicians Association SAVTA, National Safemans Association NSO, National Antique Safe Association NASA. No longer current.

SAVTA monthly magazine

CMS (Certified Master Safecracker- NSO) and CPS (Certified Professional Safe Technician - SAVTA)

Awards and Honors
2nd place national combination manipulation contest 1986 and now in 2016 1st place

Past/Present Clients

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