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State to Hold Unclaimed Property Auction in Ft. Lauderdale

7/28/2005

CONTACT:     
Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842
 
 TALLAHASSEE – The Department of Financial Services is auctioning more than $350,000 in unclaimed property on Saturday, July 30, in Ft. Lauderdale.  Nearly 40,000 items will be put on the auction block, including antique jewelry, sports memorabilia and rare coins.  
 
Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who kicked off the event at a press conference today said, "The auction is a great opportunity for the public to bid on unique and interesting items and to know that the proceeds are going directly to help Florida's schoolchildren."
 
 Funds turned over to the state and money collected from auctioning valuable items are deposited into the State School Trust Fund, a trust fund managed by the Department of Education and benefiting Florida's schools.  Funds are always available for Floridians to claim at any time. 
 
 Many schools have used those dollars to fund reading and mentoring initiatives as well as to buy needed supplies, Gallagher added.
 
 A majority of cash and items held by the state come from abandoned bank accounts and safe deposit boxes in Florida banks and credit unions.   In addition, cash may be available from utility deposits, insurance refunds and stock payments.  Florida law requires financial institutions to remit property that is unclaimed to the state after three years.
 
Property that is valuable, such as jewelry, coin collections or antiques, is typically held by the state for two to three years, after which it is auctioned.  Property is never sold below the estimated appraisal value, and the proceeds are held indefinitely until the owner is found and able to collect.  No fees are ever charged for this state service, he said. 
 
 To find out if cash or property is being held by the state for you, or if you are an heir to unclaimed property, log on to www.fltreasurehunt.org and enter as much information as you can into our easy-to-use claim form.  Floridians may also call our toll-free number at 1-88-VALUABLE. 
 
 A preview of auction items will be held tomorrow at the Wyndham Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, 1870 Griffin Road, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The auction will be at the same location on Saturday and begins at 9 a.m.  Bidding requires a refundable deposit and valid photo identification.  Visit www.fltreasurehunt.org for more information and to view an online auction catalogue of available items.