TAMPA - An unclaimed property auction held in Tampa earlier this month was the second-highest-grossing auction in the 52-year history of Florida's unclaimed property program, drawing more than 300 attendees, including 220 bidders, and raising $1.16 million for Florida's public schools.
The auction was held June 8, according to the Office of Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.
"Unclaimed money, including the earnings from auctions, is deposited into the state school fund, where, until claimed, it is used for public education," said press secretary Anna Alexopoulos. "There is no statute of limitations, and citizens have the right to claim their property at any time at no cost."
Atwater opened as guest auctioneer, selling items such as a 1776 Continental Note and one 1876 gold pocket watch.
All of the auctioned items were from abandoned safe deposit boxes at Florida financial institutions.
"I thank everyone who put the auction together and more importantly, to thank the team at the Bureau of Unclaimed Property who work tirelessly everyday to reunite Floridians with their unclaimed dollars or property," Atwater said. "I encourage everyone to frequently check our website to see if they have unclaimed property. It is our goal to give back to Floridians what rightfully belongs to them."
In the past 28 months, the office's Bureau of Unclaimed Property has reunited more than 850,000 owners, heirs and businesses with more than $520 million including a record-high $24.7 million in June 2011 alone, according to the CFO's Office.
To look for or claim unclaimed property, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE or (850) 413-5555.