Des Moines, IA – State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald will begin using the popular online auction site, eBay, to sell contents from abandoned safe deposit boxes this month. “We work very hard to find the rightful owners of these boxes and return the contents to them,” Fitzgerald stated. “But when we are unable to find them and our vault gets full, we must sell some items to make room for new contents that we receive. The sale proceeds are held for the rightful owners should they ever come forward. Using eBay will allow our office to secure the best possible price for the owners.”
EBay will provide Iowans and others across the country the convenience of bidding from anywhere. “Past auctions were held in Des Moines,” said Fitzgerald. “Using the internet as our auction site will increase the number of people participating and allow us to expand the time that each item is available for sale.”
Bidding is open to anyone registered on eBay with a U.S. postal address. The auction will begin on Monday, November 26, and will run for seven days, ending Monday, December 3. Some of the treasures in the first online auction include ladies and men’s rings; 90% silver coins; .999 fine silver medallions; basketball cards; pocket and wrist watches; and U.S. and foreign currency. All auction items have been appraised by an independent appraiser. 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 our unclaimed property database to see if the State Treasurer has property belonging to you. Simply visit www.greatiowatreasurehunt.com to begin your search.