Unclaimed treasures up for auction in Orlando

Gold coins worth thousands, Rolex watches, a newspaper from the day JFK was killed, and piles of sports memorabilia are all up for auction in Orlando this weekend.

The states biannual unclaimed property auction will take place this Saturday at the Airport Double Tree near Orlando International Airport. Bidders will have a chance to try and buy items collected from across the state that have largely been forgotten.

State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said the treasures mostly come from old bank safety deposit boxes that are turned over to his office after being left behind.

"At some point an individual may pass away or stop payment on it," said Patronis. "After five years they'll [the banks] catalog it, inventory it, and mail it to the State of Florida."

Patronis said last year alone his office gave out almost $300 million in unclaimed property but actually brought in about $500 million in new, forgotten items and money. His office has to hold the auctions twice a year just to make space for the growing inventory. 

About one in five Floridians have unclaimed property or checks in the state's system. Patronis said for most accounts, it's old utility deposits or other checks that go uncashed or never make it to a new address.

The CFO encourages Floridians to check FLTreasureHunt.gov to see if they have any unclaimed money or items that are owed to them. If old items have gone to auction like the one in Orlando this weekend, Patronis said all is not lost for the old owner; far from it in fact. The state keeps proceeds from the auctions in accounts for the previous owners or their benefactors so if, and Patronis hopes when they finally track down their unclaimed dues, the State can pay them a lump sum of the value due.

Those wishing to attend the auction Saturday are welcome. Registration begins at 7 a.m. with the auction kicking off at 9 a.m. at the DoubleTree Orlando Airport, 5555 Hazeltine National Drive.
An estimated  58,568 items will be up for grabs worth about $642,630.