State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald’s New Year’s resolution is to continue cleaning out the state storage vault for unclaimed safe deposit boxes. Fitzgerald held the first-ever on-line Ebay auction of the items at the end of November, and says he was pleased with the results.
“We had 30 items we put out for bid, all of them were sold…we brought in over 85-hundred dollars,” Fitzgerald says. With that success, he looks to hold more such auctions in the New Year.
“We’re going to continually do these, and probably in the next two weeks we’ll have another round, we’ll be doing 30 or 40 different items where people can go out the website, look at it and place a bid,” he says. Items in safe deposit boxes are turned over to the treasurer after they have been abandoned for a period of time.
The November auction actually turned up one of the missing owners. “We had a couple of cases where people called in and said ‘hey I think that’s my grandmothers,'” Fitzgerald says. He says when that happens they pull them out of the auction. One of the people turned out to be correct about it being grandma’s stuff.
There’s only so much room to keep storing items, so that’s why they eventually try to sell them for cash. “All that money goes to the state and all the taxpayers benefit from it — and of course that pays for any expenses we have as well — advertising, running the auction, you name it,” Fitzgerald says.
“And of course always if the rightful owner comes forward, they’ll get the money that this stuff brings in the auction.” The treasurer says he will announce the time of the next auction soon and have the items available for people to view.