Safes & Security Containers/Restoration of Herring & Co Sage

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Question
I have recently acquired two small Herring & Co Safes, which began life installed in fancy carved oak cabinets. They both work perfectly and I have the combinations. I am trying to locate someone(preferably in Texas where I live) who would be able to restore the exterior surfaces(paint) on the safes. Someone has just painted a dead looking old gray color. As I mentioned, they started life as jewelry safes in very fancy oak cabinets, and that is where they are going to be installed after painting. I live between Houston and Austin and also go to Dallas and San Antonio often, so I can easily reach most major cities in Texas if you know of a restoration person. Thanks for your time and help.
Bill Brooks

The safes are roughly 16" wide, 12" deep, and 16" high

Answer
Hi Bill,

If the container began life built into a "fancy oak cabinet", then it is NOT a jeweler's safe.    Jeweler's and Bankers safes were VERY thick solid steel safes, weighing tremendous amounts.
Unfortunately, because a jeweler may have owned it at some point, everyone always thinks that they have a jewelers safe, when in fact they don't.

If you would like me to take a look at the container to determine what you actually have, I will need to see photos of the container.

While I'm sure that you would "prefer" to have someone in Texas restore your safe, as there are only a couple guys in the entire US even willing to do restoration work, you are pretty much going to be out of luck here!

Possibly the nearest person to you would be in the St. Louis, MO area, however as this is an active safe & lock company, your safe may sit on the back burner for a number of months while other projects are accomplished.    Restoration work is NOT a high priority with most companies.

the next nearest person is going to be in the Ashland, OH area.    Matt is possibly one of the best restoration artists in the country, however he always has numerous projects to work on, so besides the distance thing, there may be a waiting list.

Your other options are going to include making it a DIY project or hiring someone local for some of the work.

Depending on the art work or appearance of the paint, you could have a local automotive paint company do the base coats and then find a local artist (possibly from the art dept. of a local college) to do any pin stripping or lettering.


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:  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)

Expertise

Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 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. NOTE: I also answer safe related questions in the Locksmith and Antique Safe Categories sections.

Experience

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".

Organizations
Safecrackers International National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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 Experts 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, including western Nevada

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