December 20, 2014

Stenberg declares eBay auction of unclaimed property a success (AUDIO)

Some of the unclaimed property sold on eBay

State Treasurer Don Stenberg declares the eBay auction of unclaimed property a success, saying that 102 of the 117 lots put up for auction last week sold.

Stenberg says the hottest property was the collection of silver dollars.

“Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars which were sold in groups,” Stenberg tells Nebraska Radio Network. “One of those went for over $800 for a particular collection of silver dollars.”

Stenberg says it makes sense to use eBay.

“If you have a physical auction in Lincoln or Omaha or, for that matter, in Scottsbluff or wherever, only a limited number of people as a practical matter are able to come to those and so, you have a much smaller group of people bidding,” according to Stenberg. “So, we think the eBay (auction) works really well for the type of merchandise that we have.”

The unclaimed property was put up for auction on eBay from September the 17th until the 24th. Preliminary figures released by the Treasurer’s office places the total sale at$14,913. Many of the 102 lots that sold, sold for more than their appraised value. The items auctioned included coins, jewelry, even sports trading cards; all from the contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes.

Unsold items will be held until the next auction by the Unclaimed Property Division of the Treasurer’s Office. State law requires the Treasurer to hold an auction of unclaimed property at least every five years. Items are put up for auction after repeated efforts to locate the proper owner fail.

The money collected doesn’t go to the state. It’s kept by Stenberg’s office until the rightful owner comes forward.

“Well, those proceeds will be held in perpetuity, so that if the rightful owner comes forward the dollar amount or whatever the item was will be turned over to him or her,” Stenberg says.

The Treasurer’s Office returned more than $10 million of unclaimed property to rightful owners in 2011 and more than $5.2 million so far in 2012. In all, the Unclaimed Property Division is holding more than $125 million for more than 350,000 Nebraskans or former Nebraskans.

Click here to search for unclaimed property.

AUDIO: State Treasurer Don Stenberg discusses the eBay auction of unclaimed property. [2:30]