main menu page title feature menus content footer
My Florida C F O

CFO's Initiatives

Stay Connected

Follow the
Department of
Financial Services

Sign up for the CFO's
weekly newsletter!

Press Release

News   RSS RSS   Press Office   Archive

Gallagher: Unclaimed Property Auction Raises $616,000 for Florida Schools

7/18/2006

CONTACT:  Nina Banister
                 (850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE—Nearly 300 people attended the state's unclaimed property auction Saturday in Jacksonville and raised more than $616,000 for Florida's public school children.  Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, said he was especially pleased that most of those who attended were "first timers."
 
"That means more people are learning about the unclaimed property program," Gallagher said.  "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, and we intend to build on that success."
 
More than 488 lots – some 32,000 items – were sold at the day-long auction, held at the Embassy Suites Hotel.  A men's 2.35-carat diamond ring drew the highest bid at $14,000.  A signed Babe Ruth photograph went for $3,000. 
 
The auction items were turned over to the state from abandoned safe deposit boxes. The Department of Financial Services, which Gallagher oversees, currently holds unclaimed property accounts valued at more than $1 billion and has transferred more than $1.5 billion to the state's school trust fund.
 
In addition to money and securities, unclaimed property includes tangible property such as watches, jewelry, coins, currency, stamps, historical items and other miscellaneous articles.
 
Another auction will be held Aug. 25-26 in Tampa.
 
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.