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State Unclaimed Property Auction to Be Held Saturday

7/12/2006

CONTACT:  Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842

JACKSONVILLE—Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, is urging treasure hunters to join the bidding for unclaimed jewelry, coins, antiques and collectibles at an auction July 14 and July 15 in Jacksonville.  Proceeds from the auction will benefit Florida's public schools, but buyers may also uncover a great deal.
 
The auction will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel, located at 9300 Baymeadows Rd., and begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 15.  A preview will be held Friday, July 14, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The items to be auctioned come from abandoned safe deposit boxes.  The Department of Financial Services, which Gallagher oversees, currently holds unclaimed property accounts valued at more than $1 billion.  
 
"We set a new record last fiscal year by returning more than $100 million worth of cash and property to owners and heirs from nearly 227,000 accounts," Gallagher said.  "Those who attend the auction can find their own treasures while also helping Florida's school children."
 
The Bureau of Unclaimed Property has transferred more than $1.5 billion to the state's public school trust fund and has returned more than $825 million in accounts to owners. 
 
Registration for the auction requires a refundable $100 cash deposit and valid driver license.  An 8-percent buyer's premium will be added to final bids.
 
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, where 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  

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.
 
NOTE TO MEDIA:  Photos of select auction items available upon request