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Antique Safes/Samuel Withers safe



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Inside safe  
Im wondering if you can tell me about my safe it measures 17 in wide and 22in tall

Hello Kylie,

Thank you for your question and pictures of your Samuel Withers safe.
This type of construction is referred to as '12 corner bent'.  A single piece of mild steel was bent 12 times in a powerful press to form the top, bottom and sides of the body with flanges at the back and front.  The flanges at the back received a back plate and at the front they formed the rebate into which the door would be hung.  The pictures do not allow me to see the door plate thickness but my best guess is that this is Samuel Withers 'Samco' Fire Resistant Safe.

Samuel Withers was part of a family of safe makers in West Bromwhich in the late Victorian era and three members of the family had their own safe making businesses; Samuel, Thomas and Jesse.
Samuel was by far the most successful and unlike many other small safe makers, they seem to have survived WW1 and WW2 but went out of business some time in the 1960's.  As your safe has been repainted it is difficult to date it but my best estimate is that it was manufactured in the mid 1930's.

It was advertised as having a 3/8" door plate with hardened steel plate over the locking area and a 6 level gunpowder-proof lock.  Safes of this age do not provide much protection against modern burglar's tools so they are of limited value and are often auctioned on ebay for around 150 to 250.  

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Best regards,

Mike Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy

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Mike Palmer


I earn my living identifying safes and suggesting cash limits for risk advisors and insurance surveyors in the UK. I'm am pleased to comment on safes manufactured in the UK or Mainland Europe but I am unable to accept questions regarding safes made in the USA or elsewhere.


I have been in the UK safe industry for 40 years and have one of the largest archive databases of old safe literature and serial numbers in the country. I started with Chubb in 1960 and became Assistant Manager of their Bank Security Division before moving on to become the Insurance Liaison Manager with the John Tann Group. I became Sales & Marketing Director for Guardian Safes Limited before semi-retiring. I am a Fellow of the Security Institute and ex-Chairman of Eurosafe UK, a trade body representing the interests of UK safe makers and distributors. I now work as a part time consultant.

I am an advisor to the Safe Committee of the Association of Insurance Surveyors, a Fellow of the Security Institute and founding Chairman of Eurosafe UK.

I have had literally scores of articles published in various security trade publications. So far this year I have had 24 features published in various journals including Keyways, Professional Security, Pawnbroker and Safe India. I have published one book, Peckham Boy, the life and times of the world's greatest safe cracker.

No relevant educational credentials.

Awards and Honors
In 1997 I was awarded the annual shield by the Association of Insurance Surveyors for "..outstanding services to crime prevention"

Past/Present Clients
I have represented or been an agent for the John Tann Group (Stratford, Ratner, Dreadnought and Tann safes); Churchill Safes, Chubb Safe Co Ltd, SLS Safes, SMP Safes, Dudley Safes and several others

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