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Locksmithing/Safety deposit box identification from key



I have a deposit box key from sonoma or santa rosa CA. My aunt has dementia, cannot remember where it is. I only have the key. I need help please.

Hi Xanthe,

Sorry but unlike the movies - it doesn't work this way.

#1 - there are NO records - anywhere - which indicate where any given safe deposit lock goes,

#2 - banks routinely rotate boxes or locks, when they are turned in after rental, so again, there are no records.

#3 - Sets of boxes are generally bought by banks when they first open, however whenever there is a merger or bank closure, customer boxes from the closing bank would be moved to a new bank or branch, nearby, again, there are no records per box or by lock.

The only info that you currently have is that the key goes to a Mosler lock, and possibly SD Box #334.

Wells Fargo Bank is a big user of Mosler locks, as is West America so you might start your search there, however in general, banks are NOT going to talk to you or answer questions about any specific safe deposit box or customer account unless "YOU" are listed as the executor of the trust, legally acting for and on behalf of your Aunt.

My first recommendation would be to go through ALL of her records to get a listing of EVERY bank that she may have done business with, this WILL give you a starting point, however (again), unless YOU are legally listed as guardian or executor of her trust, the banks may not even discuss her accounts with you.

Even having an SD Box number to check records for, they may not talk to you if you don't have the proper documentation.

Unfortunately, I see a lot of very similar situations like you are describing.    In many cases where a customer no longer maintains an account, or the accounts have been in active for a lengthy period of time, state law allows the bank to open and inventory the contents of the box, which are then forwarded to a corporate office, and then forwarded to a state office.    At every step of the way, contact with former customers is attempted and recorded very diligently.     Literally there are probably millions of dollars worth of unclaimed funds and assets at the state offices where these items are held.

I wish I could be of more help, but the system is designed this way to maintain a maximum amount of privacy for the customer.

Good luck in your search, just make sure that you have all of your paper work in order!  


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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

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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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