The American Bank Protection Co. Vault Protector & Sign, ca. 1902

Value (2008) | $4,000 Retail

This was purchased by my father at an estate sale about 40 years ago by an old-time collector there in Plains. And it's originally out of the bank in Plains, where my Grandmother Holmes used to work back in the early '20s.

As you know, this is a bank vault protection system from the early 1900s. This is an utterly fascinating find. It's a rare and unusual, solid quartersawn oak bank vault protector with all of its original electrical devices in original condition. It's got the labels, it's got some of the original schematics, the original nickel plating on the bells, all the double guillotine switches, which were common in the early 1900s. And then it has the gauges here. These are the timer systems. So what this did, basically, is it protected the vault. Alarms would go off in here if the vault were tampered with in any way. What I'm also amazed at is the original condition of the interior-- all the original quartersawn oak and finish. The date is 1902, the last patent date. This has been cared for by loving hands, I can tell. There's a plaque inside that says, "The American Bank Protection Co." It's style number 27. So they would have had a range of sizes and complexity. It's coupled with the original advertising sign that would have been placed in the bank.


This is a rare find in and of itself, reverse on glass. Has the electrical signs, which everybody loves. It has advertising. You're appealing to all spectrum of collectibles. The two of these pieces together, I think, at retail should bring about $4,000.


Yeah. I was quite amazed.

Yeah. That's surprising, so... I think he paid about $200 at the sale for it.

Two hundred dollars.

Yeah, $200 about 40 years ago.

Appreciate your bringing it in.

Yeah. Well, thank you.

Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Old Town Architectural Salvage
Wichita, KS
Appraised value (2008)
$4,000 Retail
Wichita, KS (July 12, 2008)

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