Second Hand Cash Safes

An antique Chubb safe

An old Chubb safe

A well constructed security safe can last for many years if it is properly maintained. Unsurprisingly, there is a large market for secondhand and previously owned models. Many in the industry would even claim that an older safe from a reputable manufacturer will provide a greater level of security than more modern safes, although this claim is debatable.

A shrewd buyer may well save a substantial amount of money by choosing to purchase a used safe rather than a brand new one. However, there are several factors worth considering before purchasing a secondhand safe. A little research can be the difference between a great bargain or a waste of money.

How old is the safe? While it is certainly fair to say that “they don’t build them like they used to,” this isn’t always a good thing. The design and construction of security safes has changed greatly over the years in response to advances in the type of tools used by safe breakers. A safe from the 1960s might not offer much resistance against a modern cutting torch or saw. Generally speaking, safes that are more than 35 years old should be considered obsolete.

One way of checking whether a used cash safe is up to modern standards is to consult with your insurance company. Most insurance companies will have a list of safes which meet their approval. This will include both safes currently on the market as well as older, discontinued models. Your insurance company may also be able to provide you with a suggested cash and valuables rating for the safe, which will give you some indication of how secure it is. Your insurance company’s cash and valuables rating supersedes any similar rating mentioned in the safe’s documentation.

It is worth noting that many safes on the secondhand market pre-date the independent testing that has now become the norm. This means the cash ratings supplied by the manufacturer or your insurance company will be your only real indicator of the safe’s capabilities.

What condition is the safe in? Is there an unusual amount of wear and tear? Are all the locking mechanisms and hinges in full working order? Does the safe open, close and lock easily and reliably or does it feel as if you have to force it? Is there any indication that the safe might have been broken into previously? Typical signs of such damage might be dents, mismatched paintwork or an uneven surface texture.

A Chubb Sovereign safe from the early 2000s

A Chubb Sovereign safe from the early 2000s

A properly reconditioned safe will be refurbished in accordance with the BS 7582:1992 code of practice for refurbishing used safes. During this process, the locks are replaced or reset, the locking mechanism and hinges are fully checked and the safe is examined for any sign of previous break in before being fully repainted.

Is the safe genuine? Certain manufacturers were so renowned that a market existed for counterfeit safes bearing their badge. These low quality fakes are generally easy to spot. If in doubt, you can typically check for a serial number on the safe which can be verified by the manufacturer.

Was the safe modified after the original purchase? Sometimes extra features such as deposit chutes or slots are added to a safe after it leaves the factory. Depending on the quality of the workmanship, these could be a liability rather than a benefit. They might also lower the cash and valuables rating on the safe.

Are any parts missing and are they easily replaced? Items such as removable shelves might have been lost while the safe was being used by its previous owners. In most cases, it should be possible to find suitable replacements, but this could add to the ultimate cost of the safe.

Is a warranty provided? A new safe typically has a warranty from the manufacturer and should anything go wrong with it, it will be repaired or replaced for free. A used safe will have no such warranty, unless the seller is willing to provide one.

One final consideration is weight. Older security safes are generally far heavier than their modern counterparts because of changes in materials and the manufacturing process over time. While the extra weight can be advantageous from a security point of view, it can also be an inconvenience when it comes to moving and positioning the safe.

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