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antique safe
antique safe  

inner compartment
inner compartment  
I purchased an old safe at an estate auction with the idea of cleaning it up and selling it.
My locksmith found a patent date of 1863 but no manufacturer name
I would like to learn all I can about the safe, including a reasonable range of values it might be worth
The is what I do know:
Outside dimensions: W = 30"+3" for handles; H = 37 3/4" + 6 3'4" for wheels; D = 28 1/4" + 2" for hinges & dials
Inside dimensions: W = 18 1/4"; H = 16 1/8"; D = 16 1/8"
The inner compartment has outside dimensions of: W = 18"; H = 9 3/4"; D = 14"; and inside dimensions of: W = 13 1/4"; H = 4 3/4"; D = 9".
The number on the knob of the outside door (serial # ???) is 8463.
The outside dial has 4 plates with a range of 0 to 150
The inside dial has 5 plates with a range of 0 to 130
There is intricate scroll work on the brass inner parts
My locksmith said that there was sand in the inner parts of the locks, indicating that the safe had been sandblasted and restored at some point in the past. He also noted that the bottom of both hinges had been welded.
I am currently in the process of hand sanding and painting it.
I will be grateful for any information you can provide about this safe
I have several other pictures I can send if they will be helpful

Hi David,

I'm glad to see that you have taken an interest in restoring this piece of history.   If you are actually going to restore it, I might take this opportunity to direct you to a friend of mine that specializes in antique restoration.   You can check his work out on Facebook at:

Matt can be a wealth of knowledge and help with your project.   It's worth your time to get to know him.

I'm pretty certain that your safe is from the "Hall's Safe & Lock Company, Cincinnati, OH.

Joseph Hall began making safes in 1846's with his father Edward Hall in Pittsburgh, PA, moving to Cincinnati, OH in 1848.   Business was conducted under the names of E. Hall & Company; Hall, Dodd & Company; Hall, Carroll & Company; and Joseph L. Hall & Company - all of which listed Joseph L. Hall as the principle and managing member.   Business continued with great success and increasing volume until in 1867 Hall organized and incorporated under the name of "Hall's Safe & Lock Company".   This company continued until shortly after Joseph's death in 1889, his son's merged the company with several others to form Herring, Hall & Marvin Safe Company in 1892.
Hall made several claims concerning the number of safes that they had made prior to 1872, however these numbers have not been substantiated and as there are no records to base when any particular safe was actually built we have to use known facts to extrapolate or establish a time frame when any given safe was possibly built.  These items include the actual safe, the locks, dials, handles, etc. etc. etc.   Generally we can get within a 2-5 year window.

As far as the "patent date" your locksmith found, many times the numbers located as possible dates are not.   Patent dates also ONLY indicate the date a particular patent was issued and NOT when the lock and/or safe was actually built.   Many times the lock the patent references to might be installed on a safe built 10-20 years AFTER the issuance of the patent.   The reference date would STILL be used as long as the item it referred to was still in use.   At best this gives us a date that the safe COULD NOT have been built before.

I would be more than happy to look at your safe, but WILL need much better photos of it.

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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