After being forced to wait nearly a month to clear up problems with eBay, the office of Arkansas Auditor of State Charlie Daniels is finally ready to begin its first online auction of unclaimed property that's been kept for decades inside its vault.
The office was prepared to begin selling a small batch of gold coins and other items on January 27th until eBay cancelled the auctions without explanation.
It took weeks to find out why. It seems since it was the office's first auction, some red flags were raised since it was selling items with a high value, such as a rare gold coin worth $2,000.
eBay stops such auctions from first-timers in an effort to keep possibly stolen items from being sold through its site.
Another concern for eBay was the Auditor's Office email address since it is a government agency, but when eBay got the proof it needed that the agency was indeed a true government agency, the auctions were cleared to begin.
Paper money including silver certificates that look just like one-dollar bills are among items being auctioned off by the office.
Daniels' office has been working hard to try and locate heirs to unclaimed property that's been accumulating for decades in a state-owned vault.
After exhaustive efforts last month, a small group of items was selected for the eBay auction. (There will be other online auctions to follow this first one). Click here for the auction page.
Up for grabs are items of both monetary and collectible value, including:
- 9 Golden Replica U.S. Stamps-First Day Covers
- Miscellaneous coins that have sustained fire damage (includes a $1 coin from 1878)
- Costume jewelry
- Gold $100 Coin from Belize
- Gold $500 Coin from Panama
- American Revolution Bicentennial Coins
- Paper Money
"Some of these coins are worth far more than their face value because of the fluctuating gold market," explains Crystal Brown, Website Administrator for the Auditor's Office, whose been coordinating the auction, along with Jordan Foster, who works in Special Projects (click the video box to watch Jordan explain what's up for auction).
Brown and Foster explain further that anyone who comes across the auction items and sees something familiar that might have belonged to a family member, is invited to fill out a claim form. But they must be prepared to prove relationship to the name associated with the item.
The money that is raised by the sale of the items goes into a trust in case there are future claims.
The first group of auction items are among thousands that fill the unclaimed property vault, including huge coin collections that have yet to be valued.
The new online auction program enables the Auditor's office to free up much needed space in the vault which also contains state property used in day-to-day business.
The Auditor's office will hold new auctions on the last Friday of each month and each auction will last 10 days.
Future auctions will include silver and gold coins, silver candelabras, silver serving pieces, diamond rings, men's and ladies' watches, baseball cards and collectible stamps.
Interested bidders may sign up to receive email auction alerts by clicking here and then checking the eBay notification box on the form. Bidding is open to any registered user of eBay (a free service). However, the Auditor of State, his employees and their immediate families are not eligible to bid on auction items.
Arkansans can search for unclaimed property on the Auditor's website (click here).
Click here for the auction page.