Department of Commerce to auction more than 700 unclaimed property items, including jewelry, gems, and collectible coins with a two week online auction beginning September 1st.
The items come from safe-deposit boxes at banks that have gone uncollected long after the lease for the box has ended. Under Minnesota law, banks must try to find the owner. If they cannot find the owner after five years, they must turn over the contents to the State of Minnesota through Commerce’s Unclaimed Property Division.
About the auction and other unclaimed property:
You can claim unclaimed property at the Commerce Department Unclaimed Property
State law also requires Commerce to conduct auctions at least every 10 years, but an owner or heir can submit a claim for the proceeds even after an auction. Commerce’s last auction was in 2019, before the pandemic.
In addition to unclaimed items from safe-deposit boxes, Commerce receives millions of dollars each year from banks, investment firms, and other businesses that have lost contact with owners of those funds. When the funds are turned over to the state, Commerce is responsible for safeguarding the property and working to return it to the legal owners or heirs.
In the 12 months ending June 30, Commerce paid more than $50 million to Minnesota consumers, representing 15,000 processed claims. Commerce also received more than $150 million in unclaimed property from companies that lost touch with the owners.
“Through the work of the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Unclaimed Property Division, Minnesotans have found lost, unknown, or forgotten bank accounts, payroll checks, life insurance benefits, tax refunds, and stock proceeds,” said Jacqueline Olson, senior director for Unclaimed Property. “This auction of unclaimed safety-deposit boxes offers Minnesotans the opportunity to discover potential treasures or connect with history through the mementoes of other eras.”
Items up for bids include:
- Gold and silver rings, pendants, bracelets, necklaces and earrings, some with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies, or other gems
- Loose sapphires, topazes, and other gems
- Watches and pocket watches from several eras and with a variety of styles
- Hundreds of old coins, including several Morgan silver dollars from 1879 and later, peace dollars from 1922 and later, a gold U.S. dollar from 1853 and silver U.S. coins from 1852
- Baseball cards featuring Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett, Pete Rose and rookie cards for Johnny Bench, Roger Clemens and Ken Griffey Jr.
- Silver ingots and bars
- A 1964 Independence Day medal