Tom’s two general rules about safe prices: 1) You can get fire protection relatively cheap or you can get burglary resistance relatively cheap, but the price of both fire and burglary will be relatively high; 2) Good quality used safes will save you a significant amount of money.
Here is a scenario we see often: A couple has been gradually (or suddenly) converting much of their personal wealth into silver and gold, to protect their life savings from a financial market collapse. They also want to prevent the government from knowing too much about their business. But they want to buy a cheap safe. They want to store a large portion of their life savings in a “garage sale price” safe. That doesn’t make sense. And they usually are more concerned about fire than break-in, so they buy a fire safe.
If you buy coins with numismatic value, or it they are in plastic cases or presentation boxes, then fire and smoke protection is important. But if you are just buying rounds, bars or bulk silver coins I recommend a used plate steel high security unit. A used safe with 1” or 1 ½” of solid steel on the door and a “TL” rating will get you outstanding burglary resistance at a reasonable price. It is extremely unlikely that your metals would melt in a safe that did not have fire protection because the melting points are high. Following are melting temps for typical investment grade metals.
Gold, 24K 1945 F
Silver, pure 1761 F
Silver, coin 1615 F
Silver, sterling 1640 F
The used safe shown on the left is small, 10 x 12 x 16, perfect for hiding under a cardboard box in a closet. But it has a TL-15 rating and it weighs 250#! Steel on the front is 2″ thick and the rest is 1″ thick. The other unit is 22 x 22 x 25, a TL-15 rated safe with a 1 1/2″ solid steel door — it weighs 910#. These units are great for low volume/high value contents like silver or gold.