Featured Advice on antique skeleton keys

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by VickyRenee, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. VickyRenee

    VickyRenee Active Member

    Resizer_15616008448881.jpg Resizer_15616000997940.jpg Resizer_15616008448880.jpg Resizer_15616006347431.jpg Resizer_15616010998560.jpg I acquired these keys at estate sale and would like any information anyone might know about any one key pictured.
    Per another thread I had on, what I thought was an old key, turns out it wasn't.
    I am learning about these old keys and believe me, any input would be great for my process. There are only a few with markings.
    I know nothing about them and there's so much information on the web that I'm finding is too time consuming and usually leads me nowhere!
    I've already learned more on my last thread LOL.
    But I would appreciate any input, brands you think they may be, time era etc.
    View attachment 187608
  2. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS! But NEVER BORED!

    I can't tell you a ton about them, but your 3rd image down....close-up..... has the most interesting, and I think oldest looking keys, plus most of them appear to be brass.......I'm assuming some might be for clocks and/or locks......fun collection!!!!! I love keys!!!! @gregsglass, @afantiques ....tagging a couple of others for you!! Plus I'm sure others will chime in!!:happy:
  3. Rayo56

    Rayo56 Well-Known Member

    Nice collection. I love old keys but don't know much about them either. About all I know is the ones with holes at the end of the shafts are usually for the locks on furniture pieces - cabinets, dresser drawers, etc.......
  4. sabre123

    sabre123 Well-Known Member

    Hopefully, someone who knows keys/locks/applications will chime in to give you an idea on what you've got.

    You may want to put something in the shots to get a sense of size/scale. That will help people out.
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  5. patd8643

    patd8643 Well-Known Member

    In the tiny town where I was raised, if someone lost the key to their old house, they would go to Silco (remember them?) and buy a key to get in the house. Some of them look like ones I got :)
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  6. VickyRenee

    VickyRenee Active Member

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  7. VickyRenee

    VickyRenee Active Member

    Good idea thank you!
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  8. VickyRenee

    VickyRenee Active Member

    These are just the barrels.....I had to recreate the scene. I hope I did it right.
    I'll have to do the rest tomorrow, it's bedtime! LOL

    Resizer_15616085118110.jpg Resizer_15616086085940.jpg
  9. VickyRenee

    VickyRenee Active Member

    And one thing I would like to know is why was that decorative key in with these??
    Christmasjoy likes this.
  10. VickyRenee

    VickyRenee Active Member

    Oh and here are the locks that were also in the box and infamous thread starter LOL Resizer_15616094020780.jpg Resizer_15616092703220.jpg
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  11. clutteredcloset49

    clutteredcloset49 Well-Known Member

    I've not seen a key like this before.
    Flat with 2 prongs - different

    These look like keys to small boxes - jewelry boxes etc
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  12. daveydempsey

    daveydempsey Moderator Moderator

    These are not skeleton keys, they are various keys for cabinets, closets, wardrobes and boxes.

    A skeleton key is a key that has been filed or cut to create one that can be used to unlock a variety of warded locks each with a different configuration of wards. This can usually be done by removing most of the centre of the key.

    The term Skeleton Key can be used synonymously with master key to refer to any key, or other device capable of opening a variety of locks. The term skeleton key is often incorrectly used for bitted keys
  13. pearlsnblume

    pearlsnblume Well-Known Member

    That is very interesting Davey. Thanks

    All I know about keys like that is many folks buy them for decorative purposes too.
    But I think that trend may be over or not as hot right now.. not sure.

    There is someone on etsy who sold a massive amount of old keys but she did them mostly in lots.
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  14. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    Most of these look like pretty standard minimal security cabinet/door lock keys. The more complex keys would have been for locks where security was truly a concern. Some might be identifiable as to maker by shape but really doesn't matter much. Most keys sold are for decorative or functional use. Few true collectors out there and most of these would be of minimal interest to them. I sell keys as fast as I can get them and we always have people coming in to the shop searching for just the right cabinet key for use.
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  15. DragonflyWink

    DragonflyWink Well-Known Member

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  16. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    I see that @Bev aka thelmasstuff was tagged in the other thread. I'm tagging her here, too -- although she doesn't come here every day so may be a little while until she sees this.
  17. janettekay

    janettekay Well-Known Member

    Don't know anything to add..:oops:.but I love old keys !!!:)
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  18. Steersman

    Steersman Well-Known Member

    The key on the right in the top picture is a "Keen Kutter," the premium brand of hardware made for and sold by the Simmons, and later, Shapleigh's Hardware companies.

    Their tools and hardware are often marked with that distinctive wedge logo and are highly collected. I've seen keys like it sell in the $5-$10 range.
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  19. Marie Forjan

    Marie Forjan Well-Known Member

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  20. VickyRenee

    VickyRenee Active Member

    Thank you for the info, I appreciate that.
    I really wasn't looking to sell them, I was searching for any knowledge people could share so I could learn about them.
    But your input helps greatly!
    I might consider it down the road :)
    pearlsnblume likes this.
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