Diebold safe
Diebold safe  
QUESTION: just bought a diebold safe. was wondering what you could tell me about it, such as age value and resistance to fire and burglary




I don't believe the "external" part of this chest is original, as this safe would have been part of a two part - Burglary/Fire resistive chest.    Someone probably salvaged it from another safe, and then built the current "cladding" for it.

As far as age, this could have been 1940's through the 1970's.   It is obsolete and no parts are available (unless you find another - similar door to salvage parts off of).

While this container was "originally" listed as a burglary resistive container, the other compartment on the original safe would have been the fire resistive container - this one is NOT fire resistive.

While it does meet some current standards for "burglary resistance", it has little to no value because of its size, and the fact that it is obsolete.    Having no parts available, ALSO plays a large part in it.

It is not antique, nor is it collectible.   It has no commercial or retail value, and should not be used for overnight storage of valuable documents.

Though it has no value under any of the above categories, this doesn't mean that it has no value.   "IF" it is thoroughly operational (everything works), then I could expect it to go for between $300 to $500, with the caveat that who ever buys it had better plan on having it serviced on a regular basis to KEEP it operational - Regular means every year for commercial and at least every 3 years for residential uses.    Failure to maintain the locking mechanism can and will result in an expensive lockout, probably costing more than the safe is worth to open it - possibly no repairs!!!

If the safe is NOT currently open, and/or you don't have the combination, then it has a negative value - the cost to open and repair it.   You could easily be looking at $650 to $1000 to have it opened and the combination recovered.

Hopefully you didn't buy it, or actually pay money for it, without a combination!!!!

What other questions do you have concerning this container???

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


I bought the safe in fully working order for $360.00. I have the combination and the safe was serviced yesterday in fact. You mentioned the weight of the cladding was negative to its value. Do you think removing the concrete cladding would increase its resale value at all? Would you recommend storing firearms or jewelry in this chest?

Thanks again!



You must have misunderstood my original posting - at no time did it mention the "cladding" being a "negative value".   What I said was that this container was probably part of another safe, and was "salvaged" from it.   I also didn't mention weight as being a negative value - in fact the more weight, for this type of safe, the better!
This cladding is NOT original to this container.   As the original safe was possibly not salvageable, removing this container and "re-purposing" it with a new cladding has given it new life.   Removing the cladding would not change the fact that it has no value under the classifications (next paragraph), and in fact would probably lower its current value.

As I originally mentioned this container has "NO" value for fire / burglary / commercial or retail sales.   It is NOT an antique and it has NO collectible value, because of its size, obsolete nature, and the fact that parts are no longer available.

That being said, I also mentioned that even though it has NO value under the above classifications, this doesn't mean that it doesn't have use and/or value.   I also mentioned that I would place its current value between $300 to $500 - so if you paid $360 for it, and "IF" it was serviced then you have received it as a good value.

If you purchased it in order to resell it, then don't plan on making a bundle of money, unless you build this safe into something that someone simply has to have, and can't live without it, other wise you will probably just make your money back.

I'm not as concerned with "what" your valuables are, as much as the replacement value of the items.   This is considered "risk", similar to the insurance you get on your house or car.   If you can stand to lose up to $1000 - then THIS would be your deductible, and the insurance would cover the rest.   With a safe however, the amount you can stand to lose would be the amount that you store inside of it, and NOT adequately protect it.   (Type of safe and method of anchoring it down).   At the end of the day, when you come home to find out you have been burglarized - if the stuff in your safe is STILL INSIDE the safe, then it adequately protect your contents.   If the safe is missing and/or your "stuff" is gone, then it did NOT adequately protect your contents.

As far as storing your valuables in it, this container WILL provide you with adequate storage of up to about $50,000, "IF" it is sufficiently anchored so that someone cannot simply pick it up and walk away with it.   If it is UNDER 750 lbs, then it has to be anchored to a concrete foundation to provide adequate security.   If it is not anchored down, then I would NOT recommend keeping over $5,000 in valuables inside of it.

Caveat to storage of valuables in THIS container.   As this container is obsolete and parts are NOT available, this container needs to work flawlessly all the time, if at any time it does not operate easily and correctly, then you need to cease use, until you can have it checked out and/or serviced.
At some point in time, it will no longer become serviceable, and will require replacement.   If you find a similar door (exact parts), you can always obtain it to eventually use as a parts donor, to keep your safe operational.

While I do like these round, lug type doors - this would not have been a recommendation for purchase if you planned on using it for storage of valuables, due to its obsolete nature, and size.   though I'm glad that you didn't "over pay" for it.    If you take care of it, and build it into a wall, or securely anchor it to a concrete slab, I think you will enjoy its use, though you will probably want a much larger safe, as this one will fill up rather quickly.

Good luck with it.

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

QUESTION: Thank you Andy for sharing your knowledge and spending your time to answer my questions.

The only thing I am unclear on is when you said "At some point in time, it will no longer become serviceable, and will require replacement."
Why is this?

Thanks so much!



Think of it like a car - assuming that you purchase a used car, and use it regularly, if you have it serviced occasionally it will last a "finite" period of time.   "IF" parts are available, you can extend this period of time as items break down or no longer work, however if parts are NOT available, and the cost to have a new one fabricated is not feasible or possible, then "how long can you use the "car", until it either no longer functions or is serviceable"????

There is no difference between buying a used car and a used safe, which is obsolete, however in your case - the point of "no available replacement parts" has ALREADY been reached.   What this means is your ONLY recourse to keeping it operational is having it cleaned, lubricated, serviced and adjusted regularly - to keep it operational as long as possible.

At some point if something breaks or wears out, service will no longer be an option and replacement will be necessary.

If you realize that inevitability NOW, then you can plan for it.   Unlike a car, if your safe breaks down you can't simply "open the hood" and make an adjustment, or retrieve your "stuff" from the trunk.   You basically have a medium to high security type safe, securing your stuff - and hopefully it isn't the passport you need right before getting on an airplane, or a weapon that you immediately need when someone is breaking into your house and the cops are 15-45 minutes away!

This isn't an "IF" your safe will breakdown or fail, this is simply a "WHEN" will it break down or fail.    

If at ANY time you start to have problems with the safe, IMMEDIATELY stop using it and remove your stuff, until you can have it checked out and/or repaired.   It is much, much cheaper to have the safe checked out WHILE it is open, if you think you have a problem, than waiting until you can not open it because of a lock malfunction of some sort.

NOTE:    I NEVER, EVER, EVER recommend using locksmiths for safe work, you need to have a safe technician who you trust, to work on this safe and keep it operational.  


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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 - 2014 - 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)

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