Sales of Unclaimed Property on EBay Hit New Records
Since November of 2009, the Office of State Treasurer has been selling the contents of unclaimed safety deposit boxes on EBay every month. Prior to that, the sales were 4 times a year starting in 2007. And before that, the office had live auctions.
With gold and silver prices as high as they are, we are seeing our sales in the monthly auction break new records. Since January of 2011, we have sold nearly $85,000 worth of unclaimed property in the auction – April’s total hit $32,000! It helped that we sold a Cartier Pin appraised at $2,000 and several rings that totaled $1,500 a piece last month. But, for a little perspective, in 2010, our total sales hit $120,000! Most of the sales, though, are collectible coins…plenty of silver Morgans and Peace dollars and, occasionally, gold dollars from the 1800’s.
Each year, all banks across the state send us the contents of safe deposit boxes they consider “abandoned”. These boxes have been at the bank for 5 years with unpaid rent and fees. Once we get the contents, we inventory and place them in the vault for another 3 years after advertising the names of the owners in the county of their last known address. So, when we sell these items, they have been abandoned for 8 years…minimum. To be honest, we are selling items that have been abandoned for nearly 10 years now. That’s how much we have. But, we are selling more items monthly and are catching up.
The money from the EBay sales goes into the Unclaimed Property account, which is now at $405 million, and sits there with all the other unclaimed funds we are holding, waiting to be claimed by the rightful owner. So, while the sales are breaking records, the money will only stay in our possession until it is claimed. Like all unclaimed assets held by the State Treasury, it can never be used for general purpose funding.
The May auction will begin sometime the week of May 23rd and will feature plenty of coins for collectors.