Locksmithing/1885 Victor Safe


inside of door
inside of door  
Front of safe
Front of safe  
QUESTION: Hi, I have an 1885 Victor Safe and Lock Co. Safe. I was wondering how much it is worth. It is in good to fair condition. It's about 4 feet tall on iron casters, and weighs about 1,000 pounds. It is missing the inside handle and shelves.
I also have the combination.


Chances are, you DO NOT have an 1885 Victor safe, infact your safe probably wasn't made until AFTER 1895, as that is when the trademark for this emblem was issued.   The 1885 date was simply when the company was established, and was placed on the companies motto, which was on every safe produced up until around 1904.  

On Monday, April 01, 1895, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for VICTOR IN HOC SIGNO VINCIMUS 1885. This trademark is owned by Victor Safe and Lock Company, The, , . The USPTO has given the VICTOR IN HOC SIGNO VINCIMUS 1885 trademark serial number of 70026528. The current federal status of this trademark filing is EXPIRED.  Translation:  “In Hoc Signo Vincimus” = “In this sign we conquer”!

What we have established is that your safe would have been made between 1895 to around 1904.

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 10mb 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.   Also, please don’t use on line 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:  andy@securitysafeusa.com

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.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Is there an easy way to tell what year my safe is?


Unfortunately not.   Safe manufacturers did NOT put dates of manufacture on them.    Obviously they didn't consider them antiques, and they did not have "warranties", like we do today, so there was no reason to put a date on them.

If dates ARE on a safe, they either refer to an established date (such as yours), or a patent date.   (date patent issued).

What we have to do, is to look at the locks installed, the manufacturing style or form, materials used, etc. etc. etc. to try to narrow it down to a period.   Generally 3-5 years.

Manufacturers also never released records of serial numbers, so even these don't help.    In some cases, using patent dates and serial numbers we have been able to narrow down periods of manufacturing by serial number, but again if we don't know how many safes were made in a particular year, the best we can do is to estimate.

This is one of the reasons that I ask for all the photos, so that I can look at your safe, and compare it to known samples to try to come up with a date, year or range of years.

Sorry if it were easy, I wouldn't have a job.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 42 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. 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 Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes".

SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

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 Expert 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 and Western Nevada)

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.