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Locksmithing/ballpark value & age on Diebold fire safe w. drawers


Howdy Terry!

I found you after a quick web search for my friend's ancient Diebold F1-D firesafe with file drawers and it is obvious that you have forgotten more about safes than anybody on the web. Thank you for offering your expertise for those of us who desire more information and need a reliable source.

I'll send the photos directly to your email address rather than through this portal.

My friend's safe bears the markings of the US Navy and my friend does not remember when he acquired it. Just for kicks, I'd be curious to know the vintage, if this can be ascertained from the data plate.

I've been doing my online research and a similar safe seems to go for $1,400. If I am lucky enough to find a safe dealer in my area who is willing to purchase it, would I be lucky to get $500-$800? I'm in reselling myself and understand the idea of profit margins, this would seem reasonable to me.

Also, what is the approximate weight? I understand that there are ceramic bricks in there for the fireproofing of the contents.

The dial spins with slight difficulty but is otherwise quite functional and yes, we have the combination.

Thanks very much for your help!

Steve in Arizona

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the "vote" of confidence, though getting older isn't helping the memory much.    Thank goodness my wife has my name and address printed in my underwear so I can remember who I am AND find my way home (occasionally)!

As far as the "online" research goes - sorry but it doesn't mean anything!   There is no such thing as a standard value or even a similar value.   Every safe is appraised based on what IT is, When IT was made, and what condition IT is currently in.   Obviously if there is historical significance (documented) this can affect value also, however in the past 1/2 dozen years that I've been actively appraising safes, I've ONLY seen one safe with any type of documented history.    Most of the rest were simply made up stories, that while "cute" didn't effect the value.

I don't know where you came up with the idea of "ceramic bricks", but no, there aren't any!   While every manufacturer had their own fire resistive insulation "recipe", in general they were all basically a mortar mix, using variations of gypsum, plaster of Paris, Alum and/or any other material that would NOT transmit heat.  

With a "Safe Manufacturers National Association" (SMNA) label on your safe, and an specification "F-1D" to indicate that it was a "Fire Resistive Safe" the safe is probably from the 1940's or 50's.
Oh by the way - Vintage - applies to a harvest or bottling of a wine and NOT to an old safe, regardless of what antique hunting "yuppies" would have you believe.
In your case the safe is NOT antique (over 100 years old) and it is NOT collectible, even though it is over 50 years old.   Basically your safe would be considered old office equipment.

As far as finding a "safe company" to buy it - good luck with that!    Safe companies are in the business of selling security and/or protection from fire and burglaries.   As your safe does not meet ANY current standards it can't be sold as such.    Most safe companies will probably charge you to haul it away for disposal.    This in no way means that your safe as "NO" value, you are simply barking down the wrong path.    If you are planning on selling it, it will have to be to another private party, though if you find someone to pay you $500 to $800, then it IS possibly your lucky day and you had better buy some lottery tickets as well.

Generally this type of old office equipment goes for around $200 to $400, if its in really good condition.

As far as its value, I will have to see exactly what you have to appraise it for you.   I would be more than 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 12mb 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, unless they are very clear and of sufficient resolution.   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:

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

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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