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Unclaimed property auction to be held Saturday in West Palm Beach

1 in 5 Floridians has unclaimed funds
Necklace up for auction by state on Sept. 25, 2021
Gold watch up for auction by state on Sept. 25, 2021
Posted at 11:15 AM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-24 18:21:55-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The state is holding a Saturday morning auction in West Palm Beach that will offer unclaimed property to the highest bidder.

Florida's Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said the unclaimed property auction will take place at an Embassy Suites located at 1601 Belvedere Road.

The in-person event begins at 9 a.m. and will offer a variety of items including an 18-carat gold necklace, 19th-century gold pocket watch, coins and Rolex watches.

"In Florida, you don't always need a metal detector to search for lost treasure! I'm excited to kickoff our unclaimed property auction in West Palm Beach this week with some outstanding items to bid on," Patronis said in a written statement.

The auction attracts curious visitors who are looking to place a bid.

Brenda Sumrall came from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for the event.

"It's the history behind the pieces, but it's also the hunt," Sumrall said. "You really don't know what you're going to get yet until you buy it."

The auctions are organized through the office of the Florida CEO.

19th-century gold pocket watch up for auction in West Palm Beach on Sept. 25, 2021
This 19th-century gold pocket watch is among the items up for auction.

"We'll probably move over $2 million worth of merchandise tomorrow morning," Patronis said.

The auctions take place at least twice a year in Florida, usually in places with a high population density.

Collectors, jewelers and hobbyists from across the area came to preview the items Friday. Dozens of people showed up in hopes of finding a gem among gems.

Florida's CFO said the state hopes to reunite people with their items but when that's not possible, they need to make space in their vault, prompting the auctions.

"Hundreds of safety deposit boxes, every single year, come to the state of Florida unclaimed. We run out of space," Patronis said.

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis in West Palm Beach on Sept. 24, 2021
Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis speaks about the need to hold the auctions to clear out space for the state's unclaimed property vault.

The state estimates that one in five Floridians has unclaimed funds.

Click here to look at items up for auction.

Individuals and business owners can search for unclaimed property at FLTreasureHunt.gov.

The state defines unclaimed property as "a financial asset that is unknown or lost, or has been left inactive, unclaimed or abandoned by its owner."

Unclaimed property is held by business or government entities holders for a set period of time, usually five years.

If the holder is unable to locate, re-establish contact with the owner and return the asset, it is reported and remitted to the Florida Department of Financial Services.