For Immediate Release - October 25, 2011

Grossman Announces Latest Unclaimed Property eBay Auction

Properties to be Showcased Across the State Starting Wednesday, October 26th in Boston

Treasurer Steven Grossman today announced that his office will be displaying select items from its Unclaimed Property Division that will soon go up for bid on EBay.com.  The items will first be displayed at the State House in Boston tomorrow, Wednesday, October 26th, and will subsequently be shown in Springfield on Thursday and in Worcester on Friday, all leading up to the online auction starting on Saturday, October 29th.

“Our first objective is to reunite people with their rightfully owned property, and the Treasury has initiated a number of innovative programs this year to better achieve that goal,” said Grossman.  “In cases where items have gone unclaimed for an extended period of time, we owe it to taxpayers to be as creative and entrepreneurial as possible when liquidating our inventory.  The EBay auction has been a proven success in reaching the most bidders possible and maximizing revenue.” 

The traveling showcase, which represents only a portion of the lots up for bid, will include items such as gold, silver, jewelry, collectible currency, and high-end wristwatches.  The vast majority of items come from abandoned safe deposit boxes with contents that have gone unclaimed for a period of at least nine years.  After a lengthy period of going unclaimed, the state is legally permitted to liquidate these items at auction.  

The times and locations for the display of these select items are as follows:

  • Wednesday, October 26th from noon to 5:00 p.m. – Nurses Hall, Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA.
  • Thursday, October 27th from noon to 5:00 p.m. – State Office Building, 436 Dwight Street, Springfield, MA.
  • Friday, October 28th from noon to 5:00 p.m. - Massachusetts State Lottery offices, 151 West Boylston Drive, Worcester, MA.

This is the seventh time that the Commonwealth has used EBay to liquidate its unclaimed tangible property holdings.  Prior to that, the Treasury held a live auction for such items, a process that was far less profitable because of its limited reach to potential bidders.  Last year’s EBay auction raised nearly $480,000 for the state’s General Fund through the sale of 2,418 separate bid lots, nearly three times the amount of money generated from comparable live auctions of the past.

On Saturday, October 29th, 100 lots will be posted on EBay for bid, followed by a gradual release of additional items over the course of a month.  In all, the Treasury expects to put approximately 1,000 lots out to bid.  The items will be able to be viewed by using the EBay seller ID “state.treasurer.grossman.”

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.

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Please Note:

Members of the media will have an advanced opportunity to view and film items at each of the three locations one hour prior to the lots being opened to public viewing.  The locations and times for this media event are as follows:

  • Wednesday, October 26th from 11:00 a.m. to noon – Treasurer’s Office, Room 227, Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA.
  • Thursday, October 27th from 11:00 a.m. to noon – State Office Building, 436 Dwight Street, Springfield, MA.
  • Friday, October 28th from 11:00 a.m. to noon - Massachusetts State Lottery offices, 151 West Boylston Drive, Worcester, MA.