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CFO Sink Announces State’s Unclaimed Property Auction to Be Held in Orlando

7/20/2007

CONTACT:  Nina Banister or Brannon Jordan
(850) 413-2842

Over 40,000 items up for sale with all proceeds benefiting Florida’s public schools
 
TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced today that collectibles, jewelry and historic coins will be among items the Bureau of Unclaimed Property will auction during its upcoming auction in Orlando on Saturday, August 4, 2007.  The auction, to be held in the Florida Hotel and Conference Center at the Florida Mall, will offer items that have been abandoned in safe deposit boxes in banks and credit unions.  Proceeds from the auction will benefit Florida's public school children.
 
“Every year, the State of Florida auctions thousands of valuables, including jewelry, rare coins, sports memorabilia and historical items,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services and the Bureau of Unclaimed Property (Bureau).  “I encourage Floridians to come out to see the items up for auction.”
 
A preview of auction items will be held on Friday, August 3, 2007, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  The auction will be held on Saturday, August 4, from 10 a.m. until all items are sold.  Included in over 40,000 items up for sale Saturday are: an un-circulated 1882 silver dollar, baseballs autographed by Hank Aaron and Don Larsen, diamond jewelry, Spanish colonial silver coins, a $500 bill, and a platinum ring with a 17 ct. natural sapphire.
 
Participation is open to all Floridians.  To participate in the preview and auction, potential bidders will be required to register with the auctioneer and provide a valid ID with current address and refundable $100 cash deposit that can also be applied to any purchases.   Most bank debit cards are permitted for payment of the $100 deposit.  Payments for purchases must be made with cash, traveler's check, most bank debit cards, or cashier's check made payable to Fisher Auction Co.  For additional information on terms for participating, please visit http://www.fltreasurehunt.org/ and click on “upcoming auction.”
 
The Bureau receives items that have been abandoned in safe deposit boxes for at least three years and spends up to two years searching for the rightful owners or heirs.  The Bureau has had tremendous success in finding owners.  In the past year alone, the Bureau returned a record 255,000 accounts valued at more than $171 million.  But when owners or heirs cannot be found, the items are auctioned.  While the proceeds from the auctioned items are transferred to the state's Public School Trust Fund, the money is held in the original owner’s name and can be claimed for free at any time.
 
Since the program's inception 46 years ago, the Bureau has successfully reunited owners with more than $1 billion in unclaimed property.  Over the past five years, the program has returned more than $546 million, more than half of all the money returned since the beginning of the program – due largely to aggressive efforts by the program to contact owners.
 
The Bureau is currently holding 7.8 million accounts, mostly from dormant accounts in financial institutions, unclaimed utility deposits, insurance benefits, premium refunds, uncashed checks and trust accounts, as well as watches, jewelry, coins, stamps and historical items from abandoned safe deposit boxes.
 
Unclaimed property can be claimed for free at any time by the rightful owners or heirs by logging on to www.fltreasurehunt.org or by calling the Bureau at 1-88-VALUABLE.  Until claimed, the unclaimed funds are transferred to the state’s School Trust Fund to benefit public schools.  Since the program’s inception in 1961, more than $1.5 billion has been transferred to the fund. 
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink  oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.