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I earn my living identifying safes and suggesting cash limits for risk advisors and insurance surveyors in the UK. I'm am pleased to comment on safes manufactured in the UK or Mainland Europe but I am unable to accept questions regarding safes made in the USA or elsewhere.

Experience in the area

I have been in the UK safe industry for 40 years and have one of the largest archive databases of old safe literature and serial numbers in the country. I started with Chubb in 1960 and became Assistant Manager of their Bank Security Division before moving on to become the Insurance Liaison Manager with the John Tann Group. I became Sales & Marketing Director for Guardian Safes Limited before semi-retiring. I am a Fellow of the Security Institute and ex-Chairman of Eurosafe UK, a trade body representing the interests of UK safe makers and distributors. I now work as a part time consultant.


I am an advisor to the Safe Committee of the Association of Insurance Surveyors, a Fellow of the Security Institute and founding Chairman of Eurosafe UK.


I have had literally scores of articles published in various security trade publications. So far this year I have had 24 features published in various journals including Keyways, Professional Security, Pawnbroker and Safe India. I have published one book, Peckham Boy, the life and times of the world's greatest safe cracker.


No relevant educational credentials.

Awards and Honors

In 1997 I was awarded the annual shield by the Association of Insurance Surveyors for "..outstanding services to crime prevention"

Past/Present Clients

I have represented or been an agent for the John Tann Group (Stratford, Ratner, Dreadnought and Tann safes); Churchill Safes, Chubb Safe Co Ltd, SLS Safes, SMP Safes, Dudley Safes and several others

What do you like about this subject?

I have always been attracted by the 'cops and robbers' aspect of safes. The industry abounds with stories and anecdotes and after more than 40 years I still find safes fascinating.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

I receive scores of requests for safe identification and assessment every month but just when I think I have got it all nailed down, along comes and enquiry that teaches me that there's still more to learn.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

I believe the vast majority of modern, low grade safes can be opened in a matter of minutes using very little skill or specialist knowledge.

This expert accepts donations:      

Average Ratings

Recent Reviews from Users

Read More Comments

    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
christian11/23/16101010Thank you :) That is fascinating and .....
Sandra10/31/16101010I am so pleased with your answers .....
Matthew09/22/16101010Very knowledgeable, and a problem-solver to boot .....
Kylie08/24/16101010Thank you very helpful

Recent Answers from Mike Palmer

2017-01-14 Old Chubb and Sons Safe : Able to find more info?:

Hello Tommy,    Thanks for forwarding the pictures.  It looks like this is an old Chubb Standard Quality safe made between 1922 to 1926. British insurers would insure the contents for 4,000 cash or 40

2016-11-29 How old is my safe:

Hello Julie,  Thank you for your question and the picture of your safe.    After the Industrial Revolution more and more business was done on credit so the industrialists books of account became extremely

2016-11-22 Safe identification:

Hello Christian,    Thank you for your question and the pictures.  Firstly, I can tell you that it is very ancient.  Edward Tann is generally acknowledged as the world's first safe maker having become

2016-10-23 Whitfield safe, double door.:

Hello Stephen,    Whitfield was one of scores of small safe-makers that burgeoned in the late Victorian era but I am going to need a picture or two to date it and identify its type of construction.  You

2016-10-14 4 UK based safes:

Hello Rachel,    Thank you for your interesting questions concerning these 4 ancient safes.      Fifty years ago when I was training young security consultants I would take them to a solicitor's office


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