Locksmithing/antique mosler safe


Hi Terry, I have a circa 1900's Mosler safe..the serial number on the handle is 237958?? The safe was the property of the Hamilton Meat Market, Hamilton, Ohio....home of Mosler safe co..my research is at a dead end..I'm trying to obtain the combination number..this safe is a cast iron behemoth..It is in the basement of my house which was built in 1943. I have a possible interested buyer....I think it's worth $1000 to $2000. Is there any way to obtain the combination?  I would really appreciate your expertise.  Susan


Yes there is, however you will need a safe technician from a local safe company to open the safe, and recover or reset it for you.

Manufacturers NEVER publish any records of serial numbers and/or combinations for obvious security and liability reasons.   If they even keep records of the original combination, these are ONLY available while the company is still in business.   Mosler went bankrupt and has been out of business since August 2001.

Based on the serial number of your safe, it would have been manufactured between 1916-18, so at this point while it may be a collectible, it is NOT an antique (over 100 years old).

As far as the value of the safe, an appraisal would determine its potential value after a complete examination of the safe and its current condition.   It doesn't do any good to compare it to safes which you think "might" be similar, as this doesn't give an accurate idea of THAT particular safe.

While you are free to ask what ever price you would like for the safe, currently, locked up with no combination it has several negative values - first being the cost to have it opened/repaired and the combination recovered or reset.   Cost for this WILL depend on what type of safe you actually have.   Cast Iron type fire resistive safes should be in the $350 to $500 range.   On the other hand if it is a Bankers model it could be in the $650 to $1000 range.    Either way this could severely reduce its value.   
Second "negative" would be its weight.   Most potential buyers do not have immediate access to equipment to move a safe which could be between 1000 to 2000 lbs (possibly more).   Which means that they would have to hire someone to move the safe.   While this negative amount may not directly affect you, it WILL have an affect on the buying decision of a prospective new owner.

Bottom line, until the safe is opened it has a negative value, AND more importantly an appraisal cannot be completed.

Recommendation:   Contact a local safe company (NOT a locksmith), to have their trained safe technician open the safe and recover the combination.   Second item, obtain an appraisal of the safe.
If you do not have a local safe company, or if they do not have a trained safe technician, let me know where you are located (zip code), and I'll see who I know in your area that I might recommend.   

Once the safe is opened, I would be happy to look at it for you.   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 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:  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.  


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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)

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