eBay Auction For Unclaimed Property In Mass. Starts Saturday

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – State Treasurer Steve Grossman is about to put hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, coins and watches on eBay. The items are part of the state’s collection of unclaimed property. They’ve all been left in unpaid safety deposit boxes for more than nine years.

This year’s items include a $25,000 diamond necklace, an $18,000 diamond pin, a U.S. three dollar gold coin from 1878 worth $4,000, a South Africa gold Kruggerand, a Rolex watch and a 10 ounce silver bar.

The items are on display tomorrow, Thursday, October 27th from 11:00 a.m. to noon at the State Office Building at 436 Dwight Street, in Springfield.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports

On Friday, October 28th they’ll be on display from 11:00 a.m. to noon at the Massachusetts State Lottery offices on 151 West Boylston Drive in Worcester.

Bidding starts Saturday, October 29th with 100 lots posted on eBay for bid. They will be followed by a gradual release of additional items over the course of a month. To view the items, use the eBay seller ID “State.Treasurer.Grossman.”

The money raised will go to the state’s General Fund.

If you recognize something that belongs to you, contact the Treasurer’s office. Grossman says, “If somebody can come along later on and demonstrate that was their Mother’s broach or necklace, and it was abandoned in the safe deposit box… and if they can prove they have an insurance appraisal or a bill of sale, we are obligated to give them the proceeds at which we sold the item on the eBay auction.” He says, “Our goal is to return tangible property to the people of this Commonwealth.”

This is the seventh time the Treasurer’s office has used eBay to sell its unclaimed tangible property holdings. Live auctions prior to that were far less profitable. Last year’s eBay auction raised nearly $480,000. The Treasurer says items were sold on average for 60% more than the appraised value.

Grossman said that the Treasury needs to regularly liquidate older portions of its tangible property holdings due to storage constraints and logistical needs. He noted that if an individual or their heirs later prove that a piece of sold property belonged to them, they will be fully compensated the sale price of the item.

The Treasury also maintains a comprehensive list of approximately $2 billion in unclaimed monetary property, such as stock, insurance payments, and bank accounts. Individuals can search to see if they own such property at www.findmassmoney.com or by calling (888)344-MASS.

Grossman’s favorite item is a tiger pin worth $1,000. But don’t worry about competing with him during the bidding, because by law the Treasurer, his employees and their families can’t bid.


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