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Great House Antiques
Great House Antiques, Appraiser/ Researcher/ Entrepreneur
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 2191
Experience:  30+ years in all aspects of the Antiques and Decorative Arts Industry
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I bought this old safe at an estate auction It has been

Customer Question

I bought this old safe at an estate auction
It has been cleaned, hand sanded and painted.
The locks and hinges have been serviced by a professional locksmith and are in working order.
My locksmith found a patent date of 1863 on one of the inner locks. He said that he thought the safe was built by the Hall Safe & Lock Co. of Cincinnati, OH, but could not find documentation on the safe.
The outside dimensions of the safe (including wheels, hinges and handles) is 33"w x 44 1/2"h x x30 1/4"d. Inside dimensions of the main space is 18 1/4"w x 16 1/8"h x 16 1/8"d
The inner safe has outside dimensions of 18"w x 9 3/4"h x 14"d and inside dimensions of 13 1/4"w x 4 3/4"h x 9"d.
The outer lock has a standard 4 plate combination, while the inner lock has a 5 plate combination.
The safe weighs approximately 1,000 to 1,200 pounds
I have pictures which I will attempt to add to this message
My email address is ************
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  AppraiserJM replied 1 year ago.

Hi, my name is*****'m a certified appraiser, and I'd be happy to help.

Are you looking for a retail value, for insurance purposes, or possible resale value?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jennifer,
Back in the "good ole days", the appraised value of an item was its true value (in the opinion of the appraiser) and could be used for any purpose. But in today's environment we seem to need to re-define the word "value" based on its intended purpose. I understand that is not your fault nor mine -- it just is what it is.
So, could you give me all three numbers -- e.g. Retail value = $___; Insured value = $___; and Resale value = $___
Also could you please give me any information on the safe that you may have access to, such as confirmation of the manufacturer, possible date(s) of manufacture; and any other information that may be gleaned from the serial number (?) 8463 on the front door handle.
Expert:  AppraiserJM replied 1 year ago.

I've been doing this for a long, long time, and that's actually quite untrue. The difference was, back then, that appraisals were not regulated, so people would just slap a number on them.

But look at it this way--in 1970, or 2015, you walk into a gallery on Park Avenue and buy a painting, or you walk into an antique store in Austin TX and buy a Chippendale side table. Whichever, you pay $20,000 for it.

Six months later, you need some cash, so you want to sell it. You're not a dealer with a store or an established clientele. You have three choices: you place a classified ad, you put it in an auction, or you give it back to the dealer on consignment. Either way, when that sale is done, you will be receiving somewhere between 30% and 60% of what the original dealer would get, or what that same dealer would get that same day. It's not at all feasible for an individual to get anywhere near what a dealer would get, on the same day, for the same item. That's why nowadays appraisers are required to be very careful to know and state the reason for the appraisal, so it can be appraised in the correct market.

Often, as an example, I will show people the auction record for a painting, then the dealer (who bought it at auction) listing the exact same painting on their website for 2 or 3 times the price. It's the dealer's store, clientele, reputation, and established expertise that allows for that.

That said, I'm not going to be able to get you the information you're looking for based on that serial number, so I'll opt out.



Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Jennifer for your candid and honest answer.
Rather than refer me to another appraiser who (if he/she is honest) will give me the same answer, please just cancel my order
Thank you,