Itemizer-Observer report

SALEM — Just in time for Black Friday holiday shopping, Oregon State Treasury is holding an online auction of items from abandoned safe deposit boxes received by its unclaimed property team. Bidding is open now through Nov. 26 on jewelry, coins, baseball cards, and other unique treasures from safe deposit box contents collected through Oregon’s Unclaimed Property Program.

“Hosting an online auction to coincide with Black Friday seemed like a fun way to attract shoppers while drawing attention to our unclaimed property program,” said Treasurer Tobias Read. “People can support the program by bidding on items for sale and also check to see if Oregon is holding unclaimed property that belongs to them.”

The live auction will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving, and wrap up around 12:30 p.m. Capitol Auction & Estate Services will host the auction on its website, and pre-bidding on items is available now at https://bit.ly/3DyJFda.

This is the first sale of safe deposit box contents in more than two years and the first time the auction will be conducted exclusively online.

“Hosting the auction online makes it easier for people across Oregon and the U.S. to participate, especially now, when in-person auctions may not be an option for some,” said Trust Property Director Claudia Ciobanu.

Previous safe deposit auctions have brought in as much as $120,000 to Oregon’s Unclaimed Property Program. Proceeds from all items sold are held in trust in the Common School Fund, an investment fund overseen by Oregon State Treasury. The fund generates interest earnings that are distributed to Oregon K-12 public schools, while the principal amount from each sale is saved in Oregon’s Unclaimed Property Program for the item’s owners to claim. Oregonians’ ability to submit claims on unclaimed money held in their name never expires.

Oregon’s Unclaimed Property Program safeguards assets on behalf of original owners or their heirs. Each year, companies, nonprofits, and government agencies across the state must report and remit unclaimed property to Oregon State Treasury. Unclaimed property includes uncashed checks, unreturned deposits, forgotten bank accounts, and abandoned safe deposit boxes. Program staff attempt to contact safe deposit box owners before items are put up for sale. Items such as military medals or other insignia are never sold through auctions; instead, people can search for unclaimed medals online at https://bit.ly/3cuQGjn.

Approximately $80 million in unclaimed funds are reported each year through Oregon’s Unclaimed Property Program. Since the program came to Oregon State Treasury in July 2021, more than $8.5 million has been returned to claimants.

Oregonians who want to see if the state is holding unclaimed property on their behalf can visit unclaimed.oregon.gov and search on their name.

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