The happenings "inside" the Wisconsin State Treasury and across the street at the State Capitol

Archive for December, 2011

Sales of Unclaimed Property on eBay Double in 2011

Sales from my monthly eBay Auction of unclaimed property brought in $220,640.07 in 2011. The auction in 2010 brought $110,409.43 into the unclaimed property account.

The price of gold definitely helped push sales up higher this year. But, we also expanded the auction to include more items and did a lot more in terms of promoting it to new customers via social media.

The items sold come from abandoned safe deposit boxes that banks turn over to the State Treasury after owners fail to pay rent for 5 years. The State Treasurer’s office holds onto the contents for at least 3 more years before getting items appraised and selling them on eBay. The money made in the auction returns to the unclaimed property account in the name of the owners and that cash can then be claimed by the owner or rightful heir.

If you would like to be part of a mailing list to get notified of the auction several days before it begins, please visit and click on the “eBay” logo on our home page. You will also find information about the auction as well as a link to our eBay page. You can also get updates on items being sold by “LIKING” us on Facebook at as well as following us on Twitter at


Just a Few Days Left to get a 2011 Break on Your Wisconsin Taxes

If you are thinking about opening an EdVest or Tomorrow’s Scholar account to begin saving for college for yourself or for your child, you have until December 31st to do it and get a tax break on your 2011 taxes. If you have an account and haven’t contributed to it yet this year, do it now!

Everything can be done by mail, phone, or online.  If doing it by mail, to qualify for 2011 state resident tax returns, checks to existing accounts must be postmarked by December 31.  A note with name of the beneficiary should be included, with ‘2011 contribution’ written on the check’s memo line.

You can get a break of up to $3,000 contributed for each account you have!

You can find a lot of great information on saving for college at If you want to talk to an adviser,  call 1-888-338-3789.

For those wanting in-person service, the Wells Fargo Funds office in Menomonee Falls is open weekdays, 8am-5pm – a map showing the exact location can be found on the EdVest website.

Treasurer’s Top 5: Lafayette County

Lafayette joins the growing list of Counties we’re spotlighting to try and return unclaimed property. Don’t worry if your name is not on this list, you may still have money or other assets to claim. You can check today by visiting our website and searching for your missing cash. (

Lafayette County

Morgan Baxter – Darlington

James Holmes – Argyle

Alice Zander – Blanchardville

Sheila Wag – Shullsburg

Ellen Cox – Gratiot

 If you or someone you know is on this list, please let them know they need to make a claim with the office. They can also call us at 877-699-9211

FAQ: How can I stop my property from going unclaimed?

Here are 10 things you can do to avoid having your property going unclaimed:

1. Update addresses with insurance companies, investor relations and utility providers.

2. Cash all refund, rebate and dividend checks.

3. Respond to stock shareholder service requests for action.

4. Resolve insurance claims in full.

5. Identify co-owners or beneficiaries of financial and investment accounts.

6. Automatic withdrawal for safe deposit box rental fees.

7. Purchase cashier’s checks and money order at finacial institutions where you have accounts.

8. Use store or vendor credits within 1 year.

9. Update financial/investment accounts following marriage, divorce, death of a spouse or name change.

10. Inventory type/location of financial assets and provide to trusted advisor/friend.

4500 Wisconsin Veterans have Unclaimed Property. Do you?

Today, I want to draw special attention to an article from the latest edition of Treasury Notes by reposting it below.  As the article explains, my office recently teamed up with the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs to help veterans claim their missing money. If you are one of the 4500 Wisconsin veterans who have unclaimed money, I want to encourage you to claim it now. If you have any questions about the claims process, please give my office a call – (877) 699-9211

Giving Back to Wisconsin Veterans, Seniors


The Wisconsin State Treasury and the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) are teaming up to help veterans claim money they may have lost or forgotten. The agreement between myself and WDVA Secretary John Scocos permits the Unclaimed Property Unit in the State Treasury to begin matching social security numbers from the Treasury database with those in a Department of Veterans Affairs database. Veterans who have unclaimed assets will receive checks from the State Treasury.

It is our hope that we can make it easier for veterans to claim their own cash…money they might not even know they are missing. These heroes who have fought for our freedoms deserve a little extra help from the State.  We have discovered more than 4500 Wisconsin Veterans who have unclaimed money and are in the process of reuniting them with it.  “Sharing information to match unclaimed assets with the rightful owner just makes sense,” Secretary Scocos added. “This partnership with the Treasury is just one more small way we can help those who have served and sacrificed for our country.”

 I also began an initiative recently to visit assisted living facilities in the state. Many of our elderly residents do not have access to the internet or find it difficult to use and a lot of the unclaimed money we are holding belongs to them. I will be working with these organizations to spend time in the facilities and help these seniors claim their cash as quickly and as easily as possible. They deserve this help from their state government. 

 The State Treasury is holding more than $400 million in unclaimed funds. The State Treasurer and his staff of claims examiners are working to return as much of that as possible every day.  Anyone can search for unclaimed money on the Wisconsin State Treasury website,  Just click on the magnifying glass on the homepage.

The Cost of the 12 Days of Christmas

Christmas gifts

Image via Wikipedia

When you hear the song itself, it sticks with you for hours. And, of course, everyone loves singing as loudly as they can – “FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!” How can you not?

Today, I started taking a look at the cost of the 12 gifts given on the 12 Days of Christmas, or Christmas to the Epiphany, January 6th. There are a lot of websites out there and news items about the cost, but I found one of the more reputable sites that always tries to do something special each year with the cost of the items.

PNC released it’s price index earlier this year and if you haven’t yet seen their special website dedicated to the 12 Days of Christmas, check this page out! It’s a lot of fun, interactive for you and your kids and offers a lot of insight into the finances of the gifts.

According to PNC’s Price Index, the numbers were basically flat in 2011 compared to 2010. The total for all 12 gifts, $24,263.18. That’s up 3.5% from 2010. In 2010, PNC saw a 9,2% increase from 2009. The total last year was $23,439.38.

Here’s how the gifts price out –

1 Partridge in a Pear Tree: $184.99 (+14.2%)

2 Turtle Doves: $125.00 (+25%)

3 French Hens: $150.00 (flat)

4 Calling Birds: $519.96 (-13.3%)

5 Golden Rings: $645.00 (-.08%)

6 Geese-a-Laying: $162.00 (+8%)

7 Swans-a-Swimming: $6,300.00 (+12.5%)

8 Maids-a-Milking: $58.00 (flat)

9 Ladies Dancing: $6,294.03 (flat)

10 Lords-a-Leaping: $4,766.70 (flat)

11 Pipers Piping: $2,427.60 (+3%)

12 Drummers Drumming: $2,629.90 (+3%)

How did PNC get to these numbers? explains it here. And be sure to watch the YouTube video at the end for a great version of the song with The Muppets and John Denver; one of my favorite versions.

Treasurer’s Top 5: Langlade County

Hello again, it’s the start of a fresh new week, and that means a fresh new Top 5. This week we focus on Langlade County, a place that has a lot of unclaimed property. But they’re not the only ones. So please pop on over to our website and search for your missing cash today. (

Langlade County

Harvey Beimborn – Antigo

Charlotte Nivenski – Antigo

Harold Steckbauer- White Lake

Francis Williams – Antigo

Bernice Pape – Elcho

 If you or someone you know is on this list, please let them know they need to make a claim with the office. They can also call us at 877-699-9211