MN Dept. of Commerce to auction 400+ unclaimed property items including jewelry, gems, collectible coins

(ABC 6 News) – The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced it will auction off more than 400 items unclaimed from bank safe-deposit boxes.

Some of the items include jewelry, gems, precious metals and 19th and 20th century coins.

The items will be up for bid in a two-week online auction from September 1 through 13.

The items come from safe-deposit boxes at banks that have gone uncollected long after the lease for the box has ended. Under Minnesota law, banks must try to find the owner. If they cannot find the owner after five years, they must turn over the contents to the State of Minnesota through Commerce’s Unclaimed Property.

State law also requires Commerce to conduct auctions at least every 10 years, but an owner or heir can submit a claim for the proceeds even after an auction is over. Commerce’s last auction was in 2019, before the pandemic.

In addition to unclaimed items from safe-deposit boxes, Commerce receives millions of dollars each year from banks, investment firms, and other businesses that have lost contact with owners of those funds. When the funds are turned over to the state, Commerce is responsible for safeguarding the property and working to return it to the legal owners or heirs.

In the 12 months ending June 30, Commerce paid more than $50 million to Minnesota consumers, representing more than 15,000 processed claims. Commerce also received more than $150 million in unclaimed property from companies that lost touch with the owners.

Items up for bids include:

  • Gold and silver rings, pendants, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, some with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies, or other gems
  • Loose sapphires, topazes, and other gems
  • Watches and pocket watches from several eras and with a variety of styles
  • Hundreds of old coins, including several Morgan silver dollars from 1879 and later, peace dollars from 1922 and later, a gold U.S. dollar from 1853 and silver U.S. coins from 1852
  • Baseball cards featuring Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett, Pete Rose and rookie cards for Johnny Bench, Roger Clemens and Ken Griffey Jr.
  • Silver ingots and bars
  • A 1964 Independence Day medal

Commerce contracts with Fahey Sales of Glencoe, Minn., to conduct the online auction.

The full catalog and details of the auction can be found HERE.