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Antique Safes/Kienzle safe


Kienzle safe, cinncinatti, Ohio
Kienzle safe, cinncina  

Lock knob
Lock knob  
Hi Andy.  My husband and I have a Kienzle office safe that was in a bldg. we owned in Laclede's Landing in St. Louis.  We sold the building, and have stored the safe in our barn in the country.  We are interested in selling it.  We know that the building was built in 1880, and the safe was in a family business when we bought the building around 1973.  I have a number of pictures.  We would greatly appreciate any help on its worth, and who might be interested in buying it.

Thank you,
Lecil and Steve Saller

Hi Lecil and Steve,

The safe is NOT a Kienzle safe, it is a "Diebold & Kienzle Co."   

The 1868 Cincinnati Directory listed the partnership of Diebold, Bahmann & Company with owners Charles Diebold, Fred Bahmann and Jacob Kienzle.    In general directories were compiled during the preceding year and published prior to the beginning of the year.    

Actually in late 1867 Diebold & Bahmann had a falling out over ownership and Kienzle's role as a junior partner.    Diebold doesn't appear to have been the best leader or company owner, and every time he had financial difficulties he would take on a new partner to obtain cash flow infusions.   Fred Bahmann left the company to form a new safe company with Gustave Mosler to begin the Mosler, Bahmann & Company.    Kienzle became a partner with Diebold and the name was changed in late 1867 to Diebold & Kienzle.     Diebold & Kienzle moved the facility from Cincinnati to Canton, Oh in July of 1872.    In 1874 Diebold & Kienzle suspended operations and approached bankruptcy.    Again Charles Diebold took on another partner to infuse cash into the business to ensure continued operation.    John W. Norris was a west coast safe salesman and sales agent for Diebold & Kienzle.   After procuring a very large sale to a west coast bank, Norris was taken on as a partner and the name was changed to Diebold, Norris & Company.   This partnership only lasted from 1874 until 1876 and was reorganized as Diebold Safe & Lock, Inc. after Norris's failure to complete the order on time.

Basic History - Diebold & Kienzle was only in business for 7 years, from 1867 until 1874.  As your safe lists "Cincinnati, Oh" on the front it would have been built PRIOR to the 1872 move to Canton, Ohio.    So a pretty good time frame would be from 1868-1872 for the age of this safe.

As far as value, I would be more than happy to look at your safe to evaluate it, but I'll need much better photos of it.

As for selling it, you will need to advertise it just like any other item you would sell - advertise, advertise, advertise.   eBay, Craigslist, local ads etc.   You can also provide fliers to antique dealers as well.   Antique dealers and/or auction houses are great ways if you need to move the safe quickly, but these sources will usually take a significant commission fee to sell the safe for you.    Obviously the sources you utilize and the amount that you expect to get WILL be subject to how fast you need it to go away.   If you need to sell it quickly, then be prepared to let it go for lower values.   If you have the ability to sit on it until the right buyer comes along, then you can demand and probably get the higher values.

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 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.


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

Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association

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

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