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Gallagher Announces Unclaimed Property Auction Results

8/5/2005

CONTACT:   Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE—Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher said today that nearly 320 bidders from 10 states registered for the Department of Financial Services' unclaimed property auction in Ft. Lauderdale last Saturday and paid more than $570,000 on a variety of treasures.  They left with some great finds, and Florida's school children will benefit from the money raised.
 
The department's Bureau of Unclaimed Property has transferred more than $1.25 billion to the Florida Education Trust Fund since its inception in 1961, said Gallagher, who also noted that this has been another record-setting year in the amount of unclaimed cash and property reported to the state and the value of property returned to owners.  Each of the past two years, the bureau has received more than $200 million in unclaimed property and returned almost half of it to the owners.
 
The bidders last Saturday were generous, bidding an average of 61 percent over the collective reserve price, which was just a little over $350,000.
 
Of the 780 lots and nearly 40,000 items that were put on the auction block, a leaf-design necklace with 30 carats of sapphires and about four carats of diamonds went for the highest price, at $20,000, bringing in about $13,000 more than the starting bid price.
 
The items that go to auction have been unclaimed for at least three years after being found in abandoned safe deposit boxes.  Claiming money or property turned over to the state is free, and at any time owners or their heirs can claim the money the items earn at auction.  The department also has a website, www.FLtreasurehunt.org, which owners or heirs can regularly check to see if the state is holding unclaimed property for them.  They can also check by calling 1-88-VALUABLE.
 
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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher 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. Gallagher also serves as the State Fire Marshal.