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Unclaimed Property Auction to Be Held in Tampa


Tallahassee - On August 16, 2003, the Florida Department of Financial Services will hold an auction with more than $350,000 worth of unclaimed property. A silver tea service, a 4-carat diamond ring, a 14-carat gold evening bag, a $1,000 Federal Reserve note, pre-Columbian artifacts, and 10,000 other items in 1,300 lots are up for auction.

The auction will be held at the Tampa Marriott Westshore, 1001 North West Shore Boulevard, in Tampa. Bidding begins at 9:00 a.m. and is open to the public. Funds generated from the auction will go to the State School Trust Fund, which is used for public education.

All kinds of valuables and collectibles from abandoned safe deposit boxes are turned in to the Department's Bureau of Unclaimed Property each year. Unclaimed property is a financial asset that has been left inactive by its owner, such as bank accounts, insurance proceeds, stocks, dividends, uncashed payroll checks, refunds and safe deposit boxes' contents. By law the holders, such as banks, credit unions, utilities, insurance companies and employers, are required to forward their unclaimed holdings to the state for safekeeping. The state attempts to locate owners or their heirs to return property. When efforts to locate the owners fail, public auctions are held to convert the items into cash that is held indefinitely for the owners or heirs to claim. Names are listed in the computer so citizens can log on or call in to see if property is being held for them.

Presently more than $896 million is being held and that figure is rising steadily. Florida keeps setting records in claim payouts-$77 million has been returned to owners this year. To find out if you have any lost property, log on to and click on "Auction" or call toll-free at 1-88-VALUABLE (1-888-258-2253).

Registration and preview will be Friday, August 15th from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Saturday, August 16th from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. Registration requires a refundable $100 cash deposit and valid driver's license providing full name and current address. The catalog of auction items is available at