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Antique Safes/Value of Herring & Co. Safe


Dear Terry, my Dad passed away and had a Herring & Co. safe in his basement. The markings say Herring's Patent Champion, New Patent Champion, , ptd Dec 12, 1871, has a Dexter lock. Also there are two circular medals attached inside; one says National Exhibition, Philadelphia MCDDDLXXVI, Awarded by United States Centennial Commission; the other a lady atop an industrial setting. I can open the safe with the combination my dad left. I am wondering if it is antique or scrap metal quality and approximate worth. Location is between Albany, NY and NYC. Sorry, my photos will not upload. Thank you.

Hi Chuck,

Cool I love Herring safes.    That being said don't get TOO enamored with the decals or claims on the safe.

The "AWARD" was not presented to your safe - and/or any safe.   The award was presented to Herring & Company for their DISPLAY at the Centennial Fair.   They (and several other safe companies) exhibited the award on their safes for several years.   

Similarly the claim as a "Patent Champion" was due to their head to head competition with a few other safe companies.    I can't say that the competitions weren't fair or possibly rigged in Herrings favor, but it is what it is.    Kind of like you bring your best arm wrestler and I'll bring my best arm wrestler to the challenge, whom ever wins gets to make the claim of champion!   Well what if your best wrestler was David and mine was Goliath, is the competition fair without also giving David a slingshot.    Anyway, Herring did beat several other companies, usually of Herring's choosing, in several areas to include fire resistance and burglary resistance - not necessarily the same safe for either event.   Bottom line they were "kinda sorta" self proclaimed "Champions", based on the results.

As far as when your safe was made - at a minimum it would have been made prior to 1892 yet after 1877.    The Centennial was held during 1876 but awards were not given out until December of that year, so ANY safe having the decals would have been made AFTER 1876.

As for your safe being Antique or scrap metal - that would depend on its quality and condition and of course your interest in preservation.    Safes which are over 100 years old are considered "antique", but this doesn't necessarily reflect on value as much as condition does.

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:

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.  

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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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