State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald announced today the names of safe deposit box owners in the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt whose contents are going up for auction next week on eBay. The names are announced to allow owners one last chance to claim their property before they are sold. “We work very hard to find the rightful owners of these boxes and return the contents to them,” Fitzgerald stated. “But our vault is full, so this is our last effort to find the owners before we sell the contents.” The treasurer’s office must sell these items to make room for new contents coming in the spring. Iowa law requires the treasurer’s office to sell valuable contents; eBay opens the bidding to a broad number of people in Iowa and around the country while providing the owners the best possible price. The proceeds from the sale are held for the rightful owners (or their heirs) should they ever come forward.
Bidding is open to anyone registered on eBay with a U.S. postal address. The auction will begin on December 10th, and will run for seven days, ending December 17th. Some of the treasures in the online auction include: rings, bracelets, a locket, and Morgan silver dollars. The auction website link is: http://myworld.ebay.com/ia.unclaimed.property.
Prior to any auction, the Treasurer’s Office completes an exhaustive effort to locate the owner. Letters are mailed to the last known address; names are published in a newspaper in the county of the last known address; names are posted on www.greatiowatreasurehunt.com; and names are taken to the Iowa State Fair and other events around the state. “In addition, we search online databases to determine if we can find a new address for a lost owner,” Fitzgerald explained. “We find a number of people through these efforts. If an owner comes forward prior to the conclusion of the auction, we will return the item to the owner rather than sell it.”
Every year, millions of dollars in abandoned property is turned over to the State Treasurer’s office. Unclaimed property refers to money and other assets held by financial institutions, businesses and other organizations that have lost contact with the owner for a specific period of time. Common forms of unclaimed property include checking and saving accounts, court deposits, stocks, dividends, gift certificates, life insurance policies, utility deposits, refunds, rebates, wages, and abandoned safe deposit boxes.
Search www.greatiowatreasurehunt.com to see if the State Treasurer has property belonging to you.