Treasurer Garrity Announces Results of Unclaimed Property Auction

Unclaimed Property AuctionImage via PA Treasury

HARRISBURG, PA — Treasurer Stacy Garrity recently disclosed that the auction of nearly 4,000 pieces of unclaimed property in October brought in more than $200,000. The online auction took place over two days.

“Our first priority is always to return unclaimed property to its rightful owner. However, sometimes it’s necessary to auction items due to space restrictions in our vault. The cash proceeds from this auction have been cataloged, and the funds will be held in perpetuity until the owner is found,” stated Stacy Garrity, Pennsylvania State Treasurer.

Items sold during the auction included gold and diamond necklaces, earrings, watches, collectible toy trucks and cars, trading cards and stamps. The auction also included rare currency such as American Eagle coins, buffalo nickels, Krugerrands, and a 1984 Olympic ten-dollar coin.

Treasury partners with Pook & Pook Inc. of Downingtown for appraisal and auctioneer services.

“We are thrilled to work with the Pennsylvania Treasury again after a year and a half hiatus due to the pandemic. Our first sale back was a huge success, with a 99% sell-through rate and the sale total coming in above our predicted high estimate,” said Deirdre Pook Magarelli, President of Pook & Pook Inc. “Like any auction, there were a few fun surprises. Lot 1285, a platinum and diamond ring, came in at $11,000 – double the estimate, even with a broken band. Four lots of Morgan silver dollars surprised appraisers and bidders alike when the bidding climbed not double but to three times the high estimate. All in all, it was a tremendous auction and we’re excited to begin work on our next collaboration with the Pennsylvania Treasury scheduled for March 2022.”

State law requires businesses to report unclaimed property to Treasury after three years of dormancy if it belongs to a known owner. If the owner is unknown, businesses are required to report it to Treasury after one year of dormancy. Treasury keeps tangible unclaimed property for about three years before it is auctioned. The only items never auctioned are military decorations and memorabilia, which will remain in Treasury’s care until a veteran or their family are found.

“Most of the tangible property that comes to Treasury is from abandoned or forgotten safe deposit boxes,” added Garrity. “These items, no matter their dollar value, were important to the individual who tucked them away for safekeeping, so it’s important to remind everyone to maintain regular contact with your financial institutions and to let a trusted adviser know where you keep your records. Taking these steps can prevent your property from being designated as ‘unclaimed’ and sent to Treasury.”

The items were auctioned for a total of $204,670. Pook & Pook will receive a 12 percent commission for their services, meaning Treasury expects to net $179,670 after all payments are received. To date, Treasury has netted $172,040. Items not sold at the auction, or for which the winning bidder do not pay, will be returned to Treasury’s vault.

Treasury is currently working to return more than $4 billion in unclaimed property to its rightful owners. One in ten Pennsylvanians is owed unclaimed property, and the average claim is worth $2,000.

To learn more about unclaimed property or to search Treasury’s database, visit patreasury.gov/unclaimed-property.

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