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Five Security-Centric Mansions Featuring Personal Vaults

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In the era of the $120M painting, people who plan to keep valuables like art, jewelry, and cash in their homes might be wise to stash it all away in a safe, but some take the home security thing a bit far. Take this mansion in Hillsborough, Calif., completed in 2007 and listed last week for $12M. The 9,800-square-foot spread comes complete with the usual luxury finishes—five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a wood-lined library, a 500-bottle wine cellar, media room, and outdoor kitchen—and one completely unusual feature: a basement vault with art gallery lighting, glass display cases, and foot-thick steel doors. The current owner, art dealer Andre Ruzhnikov, had a good reason to install this personal fortress in the basement, as he deals in Russian art and objets d'art like the work of the Tsar's jeweler, Fabergé, which regularly fetch millions.

? Also located in Hillsborough, this classic estate was built in 1931 for banking heiress Celia Tobin Clark. It would be fitting then, that Clark installed a vault in the 35,000-square-foot mansion, and even more appropriate, given her life of leisure, that it be filled with wine. Today it still serves in that role, and joins a host of other features on the sprawling estate, like 12 bedrooms, 12 full baths, three half-baths, four kitchens, 12 fireplaces, a swimming pool, and a music room. Wholly restored in 1992, the majestic home is now listed for $29M.

? The "huge old style walk-in safe" described in the brokerbabble is not pictured in the listing for this ivy-covered castle in Piermont, N.Y., judging from the rest of the McKim, Mead and White design, it's quite a space. After all, there are also two kitchens and a "walk-in ice box room" in the thirty-room mansion, which sits on 18 acres not far from the Tappan Zee Bridge. Completed in 1892 for Erie Railroad president Dr. Eleazar Lord, the manse has since fallen into a state of mild disrepair, charming it its way, but apparently not enough to get the place sold at the original asking price of $9.5M. The price was recently chopped to $8.5M.

? Private underground vaults are in especially short supply in high-rise-happy NYC and this triplex maisonette on Fifth Avenue opposite the Central Park Zoo already impresses with its five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a private street entrance, and a hefty, $23M price tag. The addition of a basement vault, labeled on the floorplan as a "wine cellar" only adds to the appeal. Still, it hasn't been enough to sell the apartment, which has been on the market for almost two years. Instead of chopping the price to entice a sale, the sellers raised the price, perhaps to appeal to foreign buyers hungry for stratospheric property investments.

? The final personal vault comes from Mission Hills, a fancy suburb of Kansas City, where one seller has gotten in over his head personalizing a mansion and now must sell at a loss. Listed for close to $5M, the house reportedly cost over a million more to purchase and renovate, including the addition of the basement vault. Now that vault is apparently empty and the owner is trying to cut his losses.

· An art mystery solved [WSJ]
· 2255 Skyfarm Dr [Zillow]
· Magnificent House-On-Hill Played Host to Kings and Presidents [Curbed National]
· 40 Verbalee Ln [Zillow]
· McKim Mead & White Castle Blends Into Hudson Valley Scenery [Curbed National]
· 1 Castle Rd [Zillow]
· 817 Fifth Avenue\ [Streeteasy]
· 5840 Mission Dr [Zillow]