CFO SINK RETURNS RARE CENTURY-OLD $20
Most valuable coin ever held by the state’s Unclaimed Property Bureau
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced the return of a 1907
gold coin with an estimated value between $25,000 and $90,000 to the
daughter of the late Tere Claiborne. Representatives of the state’s
Unclaimed Property program presented the coin Thursday to Phyllis Childers
of the City of Lake Worth in Palm Beach County.
“I am pleased to be able to reunite this family with this beautiful
historical heirloom," said CFO Sink who oversees the Department of Financial
Services and the Bureau of Unclaimed Property (Bureau).
The early twentieth century collectible is a 1907 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle
“High-Relief” $20 gold coin. The term “High-Relief” refers to the extreme
height that images are raised above the background of the coin, and only
12,367 coins were made due to the extreme difficulty of production. One of
the five most sought-after coins in America, President Theodore Roosevelt
commissioned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens for the design in 1906.
The gold coin belonged to Phyllis Childers’ mother, Tere Claiborne, who
passed away in 2000. The family searched for years, but was unable to find
the coin, which Mrs. Claiborne had placed in a safe deposit box on her way
to a bridge game. Phyllis Childers called the coin the “cornerstone of the
family,” as it is believed that President Theodore Roosevelt personally gave
the coin to Phyllis’ great-great-grandfather, Manuel Amador Guerrero, who
was the first president of Panama from February 1904 to October 1908.
The Bureau of Unclaimed Property currently holds unclaimed property accounts
valued at more than $1 billion, mostly from dormant accounts in financial
institutions, insurance and utility companies, securities and trust
holdings. Since the program's inception 46 years ago, the Bureau has
successfully reunited owners with more than $1 billion in unclaimed
Currently there are 405,415 Unclaimed Property accounts in Palm Beach County
totaling $72,060,579.80. 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.
The Bureau also 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 safe deposit box contents 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.
CFO Sink announced that the Bureau will hold an auction this year in Orlando
on Saturday, August 4, 2007, in the Florida Hotel and Conference Center at
the Florida Mall. The auction will offer more than 40,000 items including
collectibles, jewelry, and historic coins. 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.
Specific items up for sale include 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.
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 cashiers check
made payable to Fisher Auction Co. For additional information on terms for
participating, please visit http://www.fltreasurehunt.org/ and click on