Pandora’s box?

pandora's box?

Besides lots of press inquiries we also are swamped with people who want us to open locks for them. For example, yesterday at the Amsterdam Toool meeting someone showed up bringing a 1984 payphone without keys. And yes, we did manage to open it.

box upside down for better light at keywaysThe latest challenge came by mail. It is a big box that contains three locks. The text accompanying the images was: “I have an old trunk/coffin/strong box which comes from Damascus, probably modern (second half of XX century). It has three key holes (traditional keys) but all of them missing. Do you think there is anything that could be done to open it? We have much interest in doing that.”

Looking at the images I think this is not a box with three locks, but a so called ‘trick lock box’. My guess is you need to move one of the round knobs, or stick in a small pin trough a crack to either open the box or reveal the real keyway. But we only know when we visit this person and take a close look at the box personally.

So far we do not know more about the box, but maybe one of the blackbag readers knows this box or has some advice?

To be continued …

24 Responses to “Pandora’s box?”

  1. Zock says:

    That’s a pretty creepy box πŸ™‚

  2. Modica says:

    holy *** that box looks too ill… wish i had it… πŸ™‚

  3. Paul says:

    No, thats probably the correct keyholes you have, the keys may need to be turned in a certain order, or number of turns.

    The internal warding maybe quite simple, best to get in the keyholes with a scope and have a look around. Also such safes usually had a spring latch as well as bolts and it may only be closed on the latch, in which case one small hole drilled with care could open it.

  4. DMUX says:

    if anyone can do it, its you Barry

  5. rukwind says:

    If it\’s only on a latch, shimming would be an option? Were is this box, is there any chance we can get our hands on it? I know it CAME from Damascus, is it within drivable distance?

  6. Barry says:

    rukwind: it is currently located in the center of Amsterdam and I/we have an invitation to come by and have a look. They are even seriously considering bringing the beast to the next toool evening. Are you interested to come and take a look with me? Han is also someone who we need when we are going to take a look….

  7. novicelockpicker says:

    wow what an evil looking box and keyway…maybe the lock is jsut a simple warded lock that you might easily be able to pick open…just try to get a key that fits the keyway…molding?…

    good luck

  8. NKT says:

    First thing to do is measure the keyholes and find blanks that will fit. The heavily warded keyhole on the left will probably fall to gentle probing with a pair of wires. Don’t push hard in case you bend or damage the warding inside. The second keyhole is probably internally warded, and this can be found with a smoked blank in the usual way. Same with the third one.

    I really wouldn’t drill that lock, regardless. I seriously doubt you would even entertain it either! And guessing the drill point? Slim to no chance.

    I seriously doubt it would be on a latch, either. Worth a gentle try, but very, very unlikely that a multiple keyway strongbox unopened for years and needing (apparently) 3 keys would be a slamlock!

  9. Eelco says:

    It would not surprise me if it drills you with poisoned spikes when you try to pick it. πŸ™‚

    About the keyholes, it looks like they are normally hidden but now visible because the rounds knobs are moved to the right. Looks real because of that…

    It is obviously a french product, since it has the mark ‘Brevetes S.D.G.D.’ on it (abbreviation means ‘sans garantie du gouvernement’).
    That mark means that it is patented in France after 1844.
    Also, there is the mark ‘Marseille’ on it.

    Did you figure out the other word? Or two words, there seems to be a dot in the middle. ‘SA-VER. -AGAUD’

    It’s also interesting that the dripping traces indicate that the box was used/ stored upside down.

  10. rukwind says:

    I’m game!
    Just name time and date.

  11. Jean-Claude says:

    Have fun with this one. Brevetes S.G.D.G is/was a very rare watch manufacturer. If their locks are anything like their watches, the internals are probably of complexity not normally seen.

  12. Jean-Claude says:

    The plot thickens. Peugeot Freres Brevetes SGDG also made all sorts of things, from furniture to revolvers to coffee grinders, etc.

  13. Jean-Claude says:

    Okay, my bad. I should have brushed up on my French. Anyways, this is as close as I could find for the first lock (left to right)

  14. jimmie says:

    this FR blank catalog was only used for residential locks …

    at this time the safe locks were all different in shape and/or size in relation with residential/commercial locks …

    without close up view … it’s difficult to say what kind of lock mechanism is fitted on … the first lock could have internal wards too … try to test a working blank with some typex on … to see how these internal wards look like

  15. Alicia says:

    I think you should try all the knobs and see if any of them come off. if you look at the second photo, (the upside down photo) it appears two “knobs” are missing. maybe the secret is that the keys are part of the design… hidden in plain site. Otherwise… DAMN cool box wish I could get my hands on it just to see it in person.
    Check out THIS
    it’s the same exterior design! it looks just like that but with normal knobs. maybe they have an idea.

  16. tekin ural says:


    I have exactly the same safe as you have with the keys and i would like to get in touch with the people who knows about it… my mail address is:
    my phone number is: +90 554 211 XXXX (*)

    best regards

    * Note by Barry: I made his phone number unreadable

  17. marco says:

    HI Barry, I opened one of those Pandora’s Boxes a year ago. Do you still need some information. I know this is late but I just found your site.

  18. Tom says:

    Look at this site . They have a safe that looks like it. Brevetes 3 keys and its open.

  19. ricardo says:

    The box has three key holes right if you look closely you can see it has incrichens to bracke the code study theyour histary

  20. Farrokh Dehbozorgi says:

    What’s this worth? Someone showed me a picture of one of these. Thay want to sell it. Is this thing rare? What’s the history behind this? Would appreciate your comments.

  21. ILSE TRZASKA says:

    Dear Mr Barrry I live in Venezuela and here is a blackbox too. My friends have two original keys for the box this one needs only two keys.They want to sell it . I apreciate your opinion of the value of that box.Thank you very much. Ilse Trzaska.

  22. CHRISTOPHE says:

    Good evening
    I have a safe MAGAUD DE CHARF with one door and another with two doors.
    The right key opens and pushes the two nails of the others keys , and bolts and unbolts the lock.
    The key of the middle open and shut the lock.
    The left key move the last “pΓ¨ne ” of the lock.

  23. siya says:

    I am an example of the safe. Keys are also available. Email me through my email for you

    Email :

  24. Yacine Zitouni says:

    We have some box like that Β΄your opinion please