Locksmithing/mosler safe


Hi Terry,

Maybe you can help determine the value of a safe I purchased from a neighbor about 40 years ago.  He told me the safe was used to store gold brought into town (Placerville, California) by miners.  It was then used in a Bank of America bank, and then a pharmacy to store controlled drugs.  It has the name Florence Gianini written across the top border.  The dimensions are 25"X25"X36"H.  The safe compartment is only 11"X12"X17"high with its own door.  I could not find a serial number anywhere but on the dial is written Cincinnati OH Dec 12, 1852 and written on the inside of the outer door is Mosler Safe and Lock Co. C I N, O.
Pat M'CH.22.81  M, C A, O July 17 and Aug 28 '83.
I will be moving and would like to sell it.  Any information would be appreciated.  It goes without saying, the thing weighs a ton.  

Thanks so much, Lou

Hi Lou,

just because a safe was used by different companies, doesn't mean that it was used correctly.   Chances are it is only a fire resistive safe, which means that everyone using it previously was under protected.

Safes are built with two factors in mind - burglary resistive safes are built to keep people out of the safe, and fire resistive safes are built to keep heat out.    Composite safes are built to provide BOTH burglary and fire resistance.

Next - onto the patent info.   Patent dates inscribed on the lock are the dates the patent was issued and have nothing to do with the manufacturing of the safe.    The dates on the dial are for the LOCK installed and not the safe.

I looked at a lot of Mosler and Mosler & Bahmann safe dials and not a single one had an 1852 date on the dial, so I'm wondering what you actually have.    The lock and dial may not be original to your safe.

Basic History:
The Mosler & Bahmann Safe & Lock Company began in 1867.   After the death of Gustav Mosler in 1874, his heirs had a falling out with Fred Bahmann and left the company to begin another.   The Mosler & Bahmann Safe & Lock Company continued into the late 1890's.

The new company - Mosler Safe & Lock Company began in 1874 in Cincinnati, OH, moving to Hamilton Ohio in 1891 where they remained until their demise in 2001.

So at a minimum your safe would have been made between the 1874 opening date, and the 1891 move to Hamilton date.

I would be more than happy to look at your safe to see what you actually have, and to try to answer specific questions about it.

In order to answer questions, identify, evaluate or appraise the “current condition” of your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos (close-ups) 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 use a “jpeg” format, not a bitmap (bmp) image.   Also, I don’t like “website” photo dumps.   While it may be an easy place for you to store them, retrieving photos which allow me to zoom in to look at details, takes a lot of extra time.   Please send the requested photos directly to me.

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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