Here at Mesa Safe, we’re always providing you with new and interesting news around the world. It’s always fun and entertaining to read articles on antique and vintage safes that are cracked open for the first time in decades. Despite not owning the safe, you still get curious and eager to know what’s inside. You get the same enthusiastic feeling as if you’re going back in time looking through old photo albums or going through your old pile of stuff from grade school.
We have posted a couple of stories that talk about old safes finally being cracked open and seeing what they have inside. We found another one that might be of interest to our readers.
In Duluth, Minnesota another vintage safe was found on the second floor of the old historic Duluth Armory. No one can remember the first time it’s been opened, but this past Saturday afternoon, the contents were finally revealed.
The main character of the story is 59-year-old Mark Lundblad a resident of Roseville, Minnesota who is a professional safecracker for over 30 years. Lundblad has been cracking open safes for over three decades, which was much influenced by the legendary magician, Houdini. His fascination with the iconic magician magically breaking free from chains and shackles, has involved Lundblad in locks and keys. His handcuff collection of over hundred shows how much he loves his job.
His assistants John Bushey, 49 and Terry Roses, 62, are as much interested in the safes, lock and key business as Lundblad is. “I only have, like, 200 handcuffs,” said Bushey, a magician himself, teacher and a safecracker.
Susan Phillips of the Armory Arts and Music Center has expressed great interest to what was inside that safe. The organization has been trying to restore the building into pristine condition when the influential and musically talented Buddy Holly, Louis Armstrong and Bob Hope were there. “It’s always been the joke that when we finally got to the point – you know we have $1 million fundraising left that, OK, we don’t have to worry because we’ve got that safe,” Phillips said. “And it just kept us going so that we raised the rest of the money.”
They have very high hopes, and even though there might not be $1 million lurking inside the safe, anything else is possible considering the historic value and how old the safe is. Maybe even a vintage poster that advertised a Buddy Holly concert was inside, which could easily go for $20,000.
Lundblad started his usual procedure cracking the safe by drilling small holes around the lock. When asked what he usually finds he said, “Most of the time I’ve just found dust and paper clips.” But not all the time does Lundblad always find himself opening to nothing. He once was called in to change a combination lock to a safe for a bank. That safe contained a whopping $2.5 billion in cash during the “Y2K” scare. He was even asked to open a safe by the police that contained a body inside.
Here’s another interesting story similar to one of our older posts where one of the vintage safes have been unlocked for almost six decades. Now officials are asking anyone if they have the combo or key to reveal what’s inside. A Milton town safe was closed and locked since the 1950’s and the owner or whoever had the combination or key to the safe has since disappeared. After 60 years, town officials and townspeople are now eager and curious to see what’s contained inside.
Dating back even further through time, another safe is getting some attention. The safe that is only 20 feet away from the first safe dates back in the mid-1800s, that has brought forth mystery and secrecy. The safe was last opened back in 1975, celebrating and preparing for its country’s bicentennial. It has been over 35 years since, and just like the first safe, the key has since disappeared.
“We think the key to the older safe might be in the 1950s safe,” said Milton Town Administrator, Tony Mincu. Mincu explained that if there is no one who has the combination or key to the newer safe, and then a specialist will be called in to break it open. If the newer safe contains the key to the older safe, then it will save time and effort in trying to crack open the older safe. Mincu also added that the safe specialist believes the older safe will be harder to crack open than the newer safe even though the newer safe was built many years after the older safe.
“There are four to five steel tumblers that meet in the middle, and there are two rows of them,” said Mincu describing the older lock. “I can’t even imagine what the key looks like.” The older lock is rare and unique, that the safe specialist has even offered to buy the piece of historic artifact from the town. However, that did not bode well with the town historians who know the mid-1800s safe was built by Sylvanus A. Denio of Bakersfield, Vermont and passed away in 1892. Denio built the first depository safes used in Boston as his New York Times obituary proclaims.
The last time it was opened dating back in the 1970s, the town historians have a good idea of what contents lie inside the older safe says Doreen Valente. Valente is the Milton Board of Selectmen secretary and briefly remembers that the older safe has been storing and holding Civil War records and books, original receipts for land and tax information, data of sales of properties and even some historical items that date back all the way to the 1700s.
On the other hand, no one has a clue of what’s contained inside the newer safe dating back to the 1950’s. The town historians are expecting and hoping they’ll find the town’s lost Boston Post Cane or other historical documents.
“I’m hoping there’s an original copy of the Declaration of Independence,” said Mincu jokingly. “As stewards of the records, so to speak, we should establish what’s in (the safes) and preserve whatever we find.” He said that whatever the safes contains, it will most likely go to the town clerk who is the record keeper of the town and some of the other items heading over to the Milton Historical Society.
In our previous post, we revealed a mysterious safe that has been finally lifted out of its place in the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The business owner of the shop decided that it was time to remove the safe to make more room for inventory. This was no ordinary safe. This was one gigantic and massive 8,500 pound heavy-duty beast. The owner had full rights and ownership to the contents inside the safe after it was handed down to him from the previous owner. The only problem was, he was unable to open it. He did find jewelry underneath the safe while they moved it out of the shop, which made him believe that the contents inside contained some valuable items.
At last the contents of the mysterious safe has been finally revealed. After six men and their tools the monster safe was ripped apart the next morning. It revealed two opal gemstones that were found in leather folders that included certification and the amount they were worth. One of them was $190.00 for 1.27 carats and the other was $250 for 1.67 carats. The only thing that isn’t clear is to when in fact the documented jewelry was inserted into the safe. Nobody really knows how long it’s been locked. The previous owners estimated that the safe is between 25 to 40 years old.
Previous owner of the mini market, Kris Keller says that the opals could be very well worth more today than is stated in the documents. “We figured there might be something small in there, so that’s about right,” he said. “It’s very possible they have increased in value.”
Gneym decided that he would split whatever is inside the safe 50/50 with owner of the Tower Mini Market, Nabeel Gneym. Gneym offered that he would happily split the contents inside with whoever could help him open it. Rabchun, who works for Budget & Stadium Towing couldn’t pass up the opportunity after helping remove it from the mini market on Thursday. “You know, I wondered if I was wasting my time,” Rabchun said. “But you never know, it was too exciting to pass up.”
After removing the safe, the Rabchun and his team tried to come up with different ways they could open up the safe. It took six hours breaking the safe open. They used a wet saw to cut the hinges from the safe door. They even used a semi-truck to hook the door and used a torch to melt off the safety pins. “This was a really big safe,” Rabchun said. “It wasn’t an easy job.”
Keller said, “When we went to move, the safe was too large to take so we left it because we didn’t have the combination or the key. If there’s something in it, I don’t know, but it was going to cost us $1,000 for a safe-cracker to get into that.”
After Gneym offered those who could open the safe up would be promised half of the contents, a group of strangers were delighted and offered their services. “We had tons of people coming by,” Gneym said. “People were trying to open it or look at it all day.”
After all was said and done, Rabchun was asked if it was worth it in the end, he said, “No, but it was fun.”
There you have it, the mysterious case of the monster safe has been finally solved. It might not have been worth it to Rabchun, but as some say, half of the treasure is the experience getting there. The outcome may not have been your typical treasure story filled with gold and riches, but it was an exciting occurrence nonetheless. At least now Rabchun and his crew can learn from this experience and that “all that glitter is not gold.”