Treasurer Steven Grossman’s office will be displaying select items from its Unclaimed Property Division that will soon go up for bid on eBay.com. The items were first displayed at the State House in Boston on Monday, April 28, and will subsequently be shown in Yarmouth, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester, all leading up to the online auction going live on Saturday, May 3.
“Reuniting people with their rightfully-owned property is our first priority, but in cases where these individuals cannot be located, we want to ensure that we maximize the revenue that is generated from this auction,” said Grossman. “Selling these items through eBay offers a competitive bidding environment, reaches a high number of potential buyers, and maximizes revenue for taxpayers.”
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 watches. The vast majority of items come from 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 remaining for the display of these select items are as follows:
Wednesday, April 30 from Noon to 5 p.m. – Massachusetts State Lottery offices, 200 Theodore H. Rice Road, New Bedford, MA.
Thursday, May 1 from Noon to 5 p.m. – Springfield State Office Building, 436 Dwight Street, Springfield, MA.
Friday, May 2 from Noon to 5 p.m. – Massachusetts State Lottery offices, 151 West Boylston Drive, Worcester, MA.
This is the ninth 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 over $544,000 for the state’s General Fund through the sale of 1,830 separate bid lots, more than three times the amount of money generated from comparable live auctions of the past.
On May 3, 100 lots will be posted on eBay for bid, followed by a gradual release of additional items over the following eight weeks. In all, the Treasury expects to put approximately 1200 lots out to bid. The items will be able to be viewed by using the eBay seller ID “mass.state.treasury.”
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 individuals 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 $2.4 billion in unclaimed monetary property, such as stock, insurance payments, and bank accounts. Individuals can search to see if they own such property by visiting www.findmassmoney.com or by calling (888)344-MASS (6277).