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Value of an old safe?


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24 replies to this topic

#1 of 25 Christ Reynolds

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Posted September 29 2007 - 06:22 PM

I have the chance to buy this old safe, and I am considering. The guy wants $500, but I plan to offer lower. It's an old Mosler, it's quite large, and extremely heavy. It's probably 4' wide, 3.5' tall or so. I have the equipment to transport it. The lock and combination works, it was opened in front of me. I plan to sandblast and refinish it. I don't have anything of particular value, but I figure that nobody is going to walk away with this thing, if I ever have anything I need to secure. Plus, the thing is just cool.

So, can anyone give me information, or direct me towards a forum that has information about the safe? I couldn't find serial numbers on it. Thanks much.

CJ

Posted Image Posted Image
And then when I feel so stuffed I can't eat anymore, I just use the restroom! And then I CAN eat more!

#2 of 25 Dave Hahn

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Posted September 30 2007 - 01:19 AM

Quote:
The guy wants $500

A lot of people pay that much to have these things moved off their premises.

I see you also live in New England, here in CT these things are a dime a dozen. They are so heavy and bulky they are extremely hard to move. When the locking mechanism breaks they are very expensive to have repaired. Many scrap yards don't care to take them because the walls are filled with concrete, thus making them difficult to salvage.

It's my experience that every Moose Lodge and volunteer fire company, (and every other civic, religious, and volunteer organization going), had one to keep records and cash safe in the first part of the 20th century. With the advent of safe banking, fire-proof filing cabinets and the digital age, these huge safes have become unnecessary.

I agree, I think these things are very cool. If I had the means to transport one, I'd use it as a liquor cabinet or something. Before I spent $500 I'd look around in the local want ads and on ebay to see if someone was giving one away.
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#3 of 25 Christ Reynolds

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Posted September 30 2007 - 04:32 AM

Well, it's not his personal safe, he has a demolition and salvage warehouse, and this is one of 5 or 6 safes there. The place is huge, about 80,000 sq ft. I know there are costs associating with moving a piece like that around, but I'm not just going to pay what he's asking. I went with a friend about a month ago, and he told me what he wanted for each safe. I went back yesterday with my camera, Nikon D200, and I think he thought I had money. The price of the safe I want stayed at $500, but the one next to it went from $500 to $650. The others went up $50 to $100 as well.

I've looked around, but there don't seem to be all that many around here. I'll keep looking, but I'm giving some thought to this one.

CJ
And then when I feel so stuffed I can't eat anymore, I just use the restroom! And then I CAN eat more!

#4 of 25 Brian Perry

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Posted September 30 2007 - 04:41 AM

I don't think it's a bad price.

#5 of 25 DaveF

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Posted September 30 2007 - 04:57 AM

My first thought is, "How does it do in a fire?"

I have a basic fire-proof lockbox; those 20 lb "briefcases" for important papers. I bought it in grad school when I moved every few years -- important papers (passport, car lien, etc.) were moved from hanging folders to this and I was confident that key paperwork would not get lost during a move. And, in case of fire, also could survive.

Today, my concerns continue. I have two of these now, with passport, wedding license, car titles, etc. Again, not to prevent theft, but to keep me from losing this stuff.

The great weakness though, is digital media. I have some in there. But these are not guaranteed firesave for magnetic media. I've not looked hard, but I can't find a reasonable lockbox or safe to protect digital materials (video tape, CD/DVD, etc.) against fire.

So, I think a hefty lockbox is great if only to protect you against yourself: guarding your important papers from disappearing into the clutter. But I also think fireproofing is of potential value. Paper can be recovered from water damage in many cases. But a fire -- well, no recovering from ashes.

If theft is a concern, this could be great. But I also wonder if an old safe with an old lock is easy pickings for modern burglers?

It could also be a really cool piece of furniture or decoration.

#6 of 25 Bryan X

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Posted September 30 2007 - 09:32 AM

Quote:
The great weakness though, is digital media. I have some in there. But these are not guaranteed firesave for magnetic media. I've not looked hard, but I can't find a reasonable lockbox or safe to protect digital materials (video tape, CD/DVD, etc.) against fire.

For my digital media I keep a copy here at home and another copy at work. That way if disaster strikes one place, the other will be safe.

#7 of 25 BrianW

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Posted September 30 2007 - 01:36 PM

Stuff like this is almost like real estate. It's all in the location. Finding cheaper units on Ebay won't do you any good if you have to pay hundreds to transport them. You're pretty much stuck with the units that are nearby, so price and value will vary drastically by location.

And just because you know a dozen people who wouldn't pay a nickle for it doesn't mean that it's not worth $500 to you. This is one of those things where the buyer -- out of necessity -- determines the value of the item, and its value to you is something I think only you can determine.

Personally, I think it's a very cool piece of history. If I had a place to keep it, and if it were in my area, I'd probably pay several hundred for it.
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#8 of 25 Henry Gale

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Posted September 30 2007 - 04:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christ Reynolds
The lock and combination works, it was opened in front of me. I plan to sandblast and refinish it.


I would want to operate it myself to see if.....I could open it myself.
But, I suppose the seller would be adverse to giving me the combination before the sale.

Is this an antique that we would NOT want to refinish?
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#9 of 25 Christ Reynolds

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Posted September 30 2007 - 08:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Gale
I would want to operate it myself to see if.....I could open it myself.
But, I suppose the seller would be adverse to giving me the combination before the sale.

Is this an antique that we would NOT want to refinish?
Good point. Once we agree on a price, I'll ask for the combination, and if I can open it myself, then I'll take it. He looked like the type of guy who wouldn't try something too tricky (like fake opening it), he had the combination of all the safes written on a worn index card in his pocket.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
Stuff like this is almost like real estate. It's all in the location. Finding cheaper units on Ebay won't do you any good if you have to pay hundreds to transport them. You're pretty much stuck with the units that are nearby, so price and value will vary drastically by location.

And just because you know a dozen people who wouldn't pay a nickle for it doesn't mean that it's not worth $500 to you. This is one of those things where the buyer -- out of necessity -- determines the value of the item, and its value to you is something I think only you can determine.

Personally, I think it's a very cool piece of history. If I had a place to keep it, and if it were in my area, I'd probably pay several hundred for it.
Exactly. This is an item that cannot be shipped cheaply. The seller estimates its weight at 500 lbs. I estimate he is wildly underestimating its weight. I'm guessing it to be over 1,000 lbs, maybe 1,500. The wheels may be seized, but I cannot even budge it at all, even with a friend helping. The doors feel like they are 80 lbs each.

I figured this wasn't an item that is worth a certain amount everywhere, you are right, it does depend on the location. If I didn't have access to my brother's F350 and my father's track-bobcat (to lower it down the ramp into the basement), I wouldn't be able to even think about it, even if I got it for free. It would cost me $500 to move it into the basement if I had no help.

CJ
And then when I feel so stuffed I can't eat anymore, I just use the restroom! And then I CAN eat more!

#10 of 25 Jeff Ulmer

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Posted October 01 2007 - 03:35 AM

Quote:
It would cost me $500 to move it into the basement if I had no help.

I would also think about what it would cost you to move it out of the basement should you ever leave your current location or change your mind on its decorative value, and what you would do with it if you were downsizing. If you are okay with a $500 ornament that you may have to pay $1000 to get rid of later, then go for it. Inheriting something like this is one thing, but buying it is another. I also wouldn't be refinishing it, as that IMO would diminish any value it had.

#11 of 25 Mort Corey

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Posted October 01 2007 - 06:36 AM

If it were me, I'd have a good locksmith come and evaluate the condition of the tumblers, etc, before I locked it at all......especially if I was putting something inside that I might want to get out. If it all seemed in good shape I think I'd also investigate the difficulty of changing the combination. If things were "iffy", I think I'd just have the lock disabled.

Mort

Oh yeh, five hundred bucks sounds pretty reasonable if it works well. Cost me about four times that for a modern version.

#12 of 25 JeremyErwin

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Posted October 01 2007 - 07:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF

If theft is a concern, this could be great. But I also wonder if an old safe with an old lock is easy pickings for modern burglers?
It could also be a really cool piece of furniture or decoration.

You could get a new lock installed-- old, poorly maintained locks can jam, and then you might have to get the safe drilled-- hundreds of dollars.

#13 of 25 DaveF

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Posted October 01 2007 - 07:38 AM

Christ, if you buy it, I hope you'll update the thread with pictures of final installation. That will be a heck of thing to own. Posted Image

#14 of 25 gril50

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Posted January 18 2013 - 03:42 AM

I was needing to find out a price of a safe... This is what I no about it.... Herring-hall-Marvin safe.co it has gld letter,s on it it's a rail rd. it's got W.H. Martin and St. Louis in it... Weighs around 2000 lb... I think it's in the 1800 # on the handle is 34537.... If u no any thing please email me....

#15 of 25 Adam Gregorich

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Posted January 23 2013 - 06:44 AM

Since this thread was bumped, I'm curious what you decided to do Christ and how it ended up?  DaveF, I put my firebox inside my safe I figure it is double protected that way.



#16 of 25 DaveF

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Posted January 23 2013 - 02:26 PM

I thought I was paranoid with all my computer backups :) We're getting rid of a fire safe, merging finally to a single one. I guess we're getting less safe...

#17 of 25 Sam Posten

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Posted January 24 2013 - 05:17 AM

I was needing to find out a price of a safe... This is what I no about it.... Herring-hall-Marvin safe.co it has gld letter,s on it it's a rail rd. it's got W.H. Martin and St. Louis in it... Weighs around 2000 lb... I think it's in the 1800 # on the handle is 34537.... If u no any thing please email me....

I'd give it away to anyone who could haul it. We had one in our firehouse (reference the moose lodge quote above!) and couldn't sell it at any price. As noted they are a nuisance to move and we wound up giving it away to a local business who came and picked it up.

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#18 of 25 Sam Posten

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Posted January 24 2013 - 05:18 AM

Christ, if you did buy the one in the OP, I hope you didn't sandblast it, you'd ruin the patina and eliminate all it's value. =p Seriously tho, safe's arent collectable and as noted are a nuisance to move, hope your situation worked out well!

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#19 of 25 Christ Reynolds

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Posted April 12 2013 - 10:01 PM

Wow, I forgot all about this topic!  I also don't think I've posted here in several years.  So, to update everyone, I'm sure there has been so much suspense...

 

I didn't buy the safe.  It's a good thing too, as I moved out of that location less than 2 months later.  I was in my girlfriend-at-the-time's house, and we broke up not long after.  Thanks to all who warned me about potential removal fees!

 

I would still like to find a nice safe.  I don't have too much I'd need to keep in there, but for some reason I still want one.  And now that I'm a homeowner, I can buy any safe I want!  And if we ever sell this place, the safe would have to go with the house :)


And then when I feel so stuffed I can't eat anymore, I just use the restroom! And then I CAN eat more!

#20 of 25 Sam Posten

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Posted April 15 2013 - 05:54 AM

That's cool.  I bet if you follow your local craigslist a few a week will pop up!  Good luck!


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