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Property Auctions for Unclaimed and Seized Property
Many State and local governments must come up with new ways to raise money. What they are now starting to do is hold auctions to either sell off excess inventory such has land and buildings and in other cases unclaimed property. When it comes to unclaimed property, cash is collected from the sale held by auction which then goes directly to the state for their use. However, if and when the rightful owner of the item sold comes forward and makes a claim, the cash proceeds goes back to the owner.
The list below shows only a few states that conduct unclaimed property auctions. Police and other agencies also hold auctions, but the cash received in those auctions remains with the agency and does not get returned.
Texas was the first state to sell unclaimed property online which began in 1999 — specifically, safe deposit box contents whose owners have been unreachable for more than six years. The Unclaimed Property division now holds weekly auctions on ebay.The proceeds of the sale of the item always belong to the owner (not the state); and have no claim deadline.
Texas requirements to sell unclaimed property come from the Tex. Prop. Code Ann. Section 74.402 (Vernon 1999), the auction items consist of unclaimed safe deposit box contents including, but not limited to, jewelry, coins, and other miscellaneous items.
The public auctions run for seven days and new auctions run every Wednesday.
Digital images of items being auctioned are available at the auction Web site.
A few of the items currently listed are:
Reed & Barton 740 Burgundy Silverplate Footed Centerpiece Oval Bowl
41 Gold Coins From Mexico, 1 5 Pesos, 14 2.50 Pesos, 26 2 Pesos
1908 Gold $20 St Gaudens Double Eagle Coin
3 Gold 1915 Restrike 100 Corona Coins From Austria
4 Gold 1 Ounce Krugerrands From South Africa
2 1987 Constitution Proof Coin Sets, Silver Dollar & Gold $5
Hammered Sterling Silver Wood Handle Serving Spoon
Edison Gold Moulded Record Cylinder Echoes Of Minstrelsy #8326
1994 Proof US Capitol Silver Dollar
Illinois Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Auction
This year they auctioned off 14,866 pieces of unclaimed property in the Illinois Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Auction because the rightful owners did not come forward to claim the items in more than five years. Auction items included rare coins, and several pieces of jewelry. These items came from safe deposit boxes or bank accounts that went unclaimed for at least five years.
Treasurer Rutherford chose to conduct this unclaimed property auction online because he says "it’s more cost effective than having a live, in-person auction."
Previously the auctions were done through eBay but it cost the treasurer’s office about $29,000 to sell the property. Now under the States own online auction system, only $2,000 will be used for the new iBid program to sell approximately $112,000 worth of items.
For the first time, Pennsylvania Treasury will hold unclaimed property items conducted through outside auctioneers.
The goods will be auctioned by Morphy Auctions and come from safe deposit boxes located throughout the Pennsylvania. A few of the auctioned items include bags of silver coins, precious-metal bars, watches by Rolex and other watch makers, antique firearms and swords, musical instruments, historical documents, and a large
selection of fine jewelry.
The State of California now offers an online auction of certain unclaimed property on ebay. The unclaimed property comes from safe deposit boxes that have been unclaimed for more that three years. All items have been inspected by a certified appraiser.
North Carolina conducts auctions to sell unclaimed property but they also have auctions for the sale of property seized by the Department of Revenue, Unauthorized Substance Tax Division, Unclaimed Property (Escheats) for the Department of Treasury and Prohibited Items collected from airports. Auctions are also held for the sale of Drug seized property which may include, but is not limited to: cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATV’s, generators, farm equipment, lawn and garden equipment, jewelry, furniture, appliances, televisions, stereos, DVD player/recorders, VCR’s, video games, computers, shop equipment, hand tools, power tools, etc.
North Carolina also sells Prohibited items that were collected from boarding passengers at three North Carolina airports may include, but is not limited to: knives, cigarette lighters, multi-tools and scissors, with exception to: firearms and explosives. These are sold daily in the Drug Seizure Showroom.
Washington State holds auctions less frequently, the last one was in 2011. These auctions items are once again from safe deposit box contents that were turned over to the State of Washington five years after the owner stops paying rent. If the owner does not claim the items, the State must sell the contents at public auction within five years.
In 2011 Washington sold more than 3,000 lots and brought in a record $915,000. The owners or heirs can come forward at any time to claim the proceeds held by the department.
Sale items usually included collectible coins, currency, jewelry, watches, stamps, silver bars, sports cards and other collectibles. Land, vehicles or other tangible property do not form part of the auction items.
The City of Duluth Police Department in Minnesota, also sells items by auction. They use a company called PropertyRoom.com to auction off all abandoned, stolen, lawfully seized, or unclaimed property of every kind and description, remaining unclaimed. Some of the auction items include bikes, rugs, electronics, jewelry, clothing, tools, musical instruments, sporting equipment and more.
The Baltimore County Police Department utilizes the same services of Propertyroom.com to auction off all of our abandoned, stolen, lawfully seized, or unclaimed property of every kind and description, remaining unclaimed for 30 days or more. This is an ongoing auction available 24 hour a day, 7 days a week.
Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars in unclaimed property from abandoned bank accounts, forgotten stocks, checks that have not been cashed, certificates of deposit, life insurance policies, safe deposit boxes and other sources.
The contents of safety deposit boxes are auctioned off each year on ebay, things like jewelry or collectible coins – are held in the Treasury vault until claimed. If they remain unclaimed these items are auctioned off to make room for more unclaimed items. After items are auctioned, the proceeds are placed in the state’s General Fund and held in perpetuity until it is claimed by the rightful owners or heirs.
City of Kent Police Department has given notice of their ongoing online public auction for unclaimed property and seized/forfeited items.
Unclaimed and seized and forfeited property from the Kent Police Department Evidence Room is auctioned through PropertyRoom.com on an ongoing basis.
Common types of property items may include: Baseball cards, Bicycles, Cameras, Camping gear, Car stereo equipment, Cell phones, Computers/laptops, Dishes, DVD's &
CD's, Generators, Jewelry, Luggage, Lumber, Power tools & hand tools, Printers, Scanners, Stereos & equipment, Toys.