Here is a very nice and relatively rare US Registered Mail padlock.
This padlock had a high bid of $455 (Plus $8 Shipping).1880s T-series Registered Mail lock
plus a new DVD titled
Delivering the Promise
This US Registered Mail lock has a cast case, shackle collar, and rotating shackle made of architectural bronze. It is circa 1880s but continued in usage through the 1920s, being repaired when necessary. Although ''rotary'' locks have been occasionally listed on eBay being described as the style selected by Harry Houdini for his renowned mail bag escape trick, prop photos reveal that he used this earlier style of lock that opened with a flat key that he concealed within his cheek. The obsolete flat-style key was assigned to the Treasury Department. Although registered mail shipments passed through the postal system with this lock, Post Office Department employees could not open those pouches with their standard-issue keys. Only U.S. Treasury personnel were assigned keys to unlock shipments of currency and coin.
This lock is sold with a professionally-fitted reproduction key that operates the lock and is in excellent condition. There is a small bronze flap covering the rotary numbers ''in the window'' that is currently 0131, meaning it had been opened 131 times. The lock serial number is T 2449 and is ex-Mundy collection. All features of the lock are clear and distinct, even though the back view is fuzzy around the edges because used a camera which doesn't have much depth of field for close-up snapshots.
The ''T-Series'' lock and key were the subject of a short story appearing in RAILROAD STORIES, unknown date, pages 102-127. If anyone has seen this article and knows the issue date, I'd appreciate the information. I will include a copy of the article that was digitally scanned and converted to a document format. There are a few inaccuracies within the story, but it nonetheless makes interesting reading about this legendary lock. - eBay (10/30/2011)