You are here:

Antique Safes/Antique floor safe, late 1800's

Advertisement


Question
Front
Front  

Dial lock
Dial lock  
I have a floor safe that has no company name on it. I need this info to be able to sell this beautiful Antique to a collector I know. What's holding me back is the safe cannot be opened which means I have no access to the serial #. Regardless if it opens or not, my collector wants to purchase it. Before we talk prices, he wants more information on it, which obviously I'm unable to  provide so that's why I've come to you. Here's all the info I've been able to collect and I hope it's enough for you to determine what company manufactured this safe.

When looking at the safe from the front, at the very top it says "Cooperative Printery"
Slightly below that there's a tag "Cabinet , Safe & Vault Services Cc."
Has a Sargent & Greenleaf dial lock which I researched the online and from what I've read, this specific dial lock with a large cap between the first and last number is rare. I say rare meaning extremely old compared to the common vintage dial locks during That time. My locksmith says he's never even seen a dial lock like this one. He says it's nickel plated, along with the knobs on the hinges as well.  Lastly, i removed the Steel plate on the back of the safe and in the fire proofing material they used it says 99. That's where I came up with 1899. I'm hoping you can help me out. This is all the info I have. Thanks

Answer
Hi Taylor,

Several problems -

1.   The tag that you are referring to is basically a lock and/or safe company advertising sticker.   Possibly someone that has done service on that safe at sometime.
2.   The safe has been drilled and not repaired, which means that it possibly has damage and/or they never got it open.
3.   The safe is locked up currently.

As far as your locksmith having not seen this dial before, he obviously hasn't done that much safe work!     This was the standard dial that S&G began using during the late 1860's to early 1870's.   This dial was in use as a standard dial until the 1950's.
Based on the safe door that it is on, I would have to guess the lock is a C60 series lock.   The subsequent model was the 6810 series lock, which also used this same dial.

As for the manufacturer of the safe, unfortunately there isn't enough info available to determine what it actually is.   Hopefully once the safe is open, and we get a look at the bolt work we can narrow down who made the safe, and possibly a time frame when it would have been made.   Right now with only the photos to go on, we are probably looking at the 1890's through the late 1920's as a time frame.
Again, unfortunately, there were numerous manufacturers using this lock during this time period.
As far as the "number 99" which you discovered in the insulation material.    Manufacturers did not put the year of manufacturer on the safes.   What they DID use were build numbers or lot numbers as they were making them.   As most parts and pieces were hand fitted the items and pieces of the safe were marked with a number that would keep all the items with the same build.   So for instance a back panel for safe number 98 would not wind up on safe number 97 or 99.
NOTE:   these numbers were NOT serial numbers nor were they associated with serial numbers, which were assigned upon completion of the safe, other than in the factor build sheets, to indicated that build number 99 received serial number "14490" which is the number stamped on the ball of the handle.

Bottom line:
1.  The serial number is stamped on the ball of the handle, it would be the "14490".  unfortunately the photo isn't good enough for me to zoom in, to verify the number.

2.  value - currently the safe basically has a negative value - that being the cost to open and repair the safe, which could be around $350 to $500 depending on the damage that is already done.   If the lock is damaged then cost would be higher.

3.  Age  -  without more info or identification of the manufacturer we are looking at a safe probably made between 1895-1925ish.

4.  It appears the safe has been repainted at some point - this doesn't appear to be original paint.

5.  Condition - unknown condition of interior cabinetry, but with the safe locked up, drilled and unrepaired, it is in poor condition at this time.

While I know that this isn't what you wanted to hear, I'm trying to be honest with you and the potential buyer.    The safe has a lot of potential, however all of the items listed above need to be dealt with before it can be appraised.

Sorry I can't help out more at this point.   If you get the safe open and would like me to look at it to help id it or to appraise its overall condition, I would be more than happy to at that time.   Contact me and I'll send you a list of the photos that I will need.  

Antique Safes

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland Safes from the 1860'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

40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. 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. 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

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 - 2013 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

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.