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State Unclaimed Property Auction to Be Held Saturday

8/23/2006

CONTACT:  FLDFS Press Office
                 (850) 413-2842

TAMPA— 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 Saturday, August 26, in Tampa.  Gallagher said auction goers may find some very special items, and can enjoy knowing the proceeds from the auction will benefit Florida's public schools.
 
"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," said Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services and the Bureau of Unclaimed Property.   "Those who attend the auction may find a real treasure, and the money will go to a very worthy cause."
 
The auction will be held at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel, located at 200 N. Ashley Drive and begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 26.  A preview of the auction items will be held Friday, August 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
The items to be auctioned were turned over to the state from abandoned safe deposit boxes.   The auction will include about 500 lots consisting of some 32,000 items with a minimum reserve price of $375,000.  
 
Registration for the auction requires a refundable $100 cash deposit and a valid driver's license.  An 8-percent buyer's premium will be added to final bids.
  
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.  The state is currently holding about $1 billion worth of abandoned items and cash.
 
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.  Owners or heirs can log on to www.FLtreasurehunt.org to find out if the state is holding unclaimed property for them, or they may call 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.