Illinois treasurer auctioning off trove of unclaimed property

Shopping for that special someone? Sure, you could go to a boutique, a jewelry store or even Amazon.

But how about the Illinois Treasurer's Office?

The treasurer is auctioning off hundreds of pieces of unclaimed property this week.

"There's a wide range but I like to tell people there's something for everyone," said Illinois treasurer Michael Frerichs.

Frerichs said there are deals to be had in the latest auction of unclaimed Illinois property.

Looking for some nice jewelry? How about a gold link bracelet, diamond earrings or a wedding ring for that extra-special someone?


If you're a coin collector, there's a huge stash of rare coins and silver dollars.

You can find these and hundreds of other items right now at the treasurer's online auction site.

"We auction off things in the tens of thousands of dollars," Frerichs said. "We auction off things that are more sentimental value."

So where does all this unclaimed property come from? Frerichs said it's from bank security boxes that lie dormant all over the state.

If the safe deposit box isn't being paid for and the owner can't be found, by law the contents are then turned over to the treasurer's office.

"We try very hard over 10 years to return that physical property," said Frerichs. "But if after 10 years we can't track down the owners, that property starts to fill up our vault and we need to make space, and that's why we have an unclaimed property auction."

But wait, there's more.

Collectibles like hundreds of baseball cards, 2007 Bulls trading cards, a Cubs 1972 yearbook, Victorian trading cards, Beanie Babies, comic books, and for the Elvis fan — a collection of newspapers from the day the King died.

The money raised from the auction will be held in perpetuity by the state.

"So we will track down their children, their grandchildren, however long it takes, and if we find the rightful heir, we’ll return it anytime."

Since becoming treasurer, Frerichs said he has returned $1.6 billion in unclaimed property, with more than $3 billion still waiting to find a home.

The auction runs from April 3rd to April 7th.