A variety of collectibles that were contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes that were turned over to the State of Nebraska between 2006 and 2011 are currently available in eBay auctions. The auctions are being hosted by the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office.
“We are looking forward to our online eBay auction, and we are excited with the quality and variety of items that will be available for sale, from diamonds and sterling silver to sports trading cards and collectible coins,” said Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg.
He added, “While we would like nothing better than to see these items back in the hands of their owners or the owners’ heirs, we do not have the storage space to keep these items indefinitely, and we would like to see them used and enjoyed by new owners. Also, state law requires that we conduct an auction at least every five years. Proceeds from the sale of each item will be recorded in the original owner’s name and be held in that name in perpetuity.”
The last auction conducted by the Treasurer’s Office was in 2012. That auction resulted in almost $15,000 in sales.
Stenberg said multiple efforts over many years to locate the original owners of the safe deposit boxes have been unsuccessful. Those efforts include letters to owners for which the Treasurer’s Office has addresses, skip tracing, in-house research, publication of names on the Treasurer’s website, and publication of names in an annual tabloid in Nebraska newspapers. The Unclaimed Property staff also attends outreach events throughout the state to help visitors search the database and file claims.
“As many of you know, one of the duties of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office is to receive unclaimed property from banks, financial institutions, businesses, and organizations and to try to locate the rightful owners and return the property to them,” Stenberg said.
All items for the upcoming auction have been inspected and appraised by Tom Bassett of Lincoln, an independent appraiser. Bassett is a member of the New England Appraisers Association and past president of both the Lincoln Coin Club and the Nebraska Numismatic Association.
The auction contains 940 appraised lots, including collectible sports cards, collectible coins, Morgan and Peace silver dollars, jewelry, watches, pocket watches, and sterling silver pieces. The items range in appraised value from $1 to $1,800. The appraised value of all items totals $56,000.
“We have a wide variety of items to auction, ranging from sports cards featuring Shaquille O’Neal as a rookie and Roberto Clemente to a beautiful metal box with tole painting dating from before 1880. You will also find a ladies 14k gold ring with 11 diamonds, size 8 ½, and a 1930s bar pin with nine diamonds, believed to be white gold,” Stenberg said.
The top sports collectibles lot features single cards that include: 1971 Pete Rose, 1960 and 1966 Sandy Koufax, 1969 Don Drysdale, 1956, 1957, 1963 and 1972 Roberto Clemente, 1961 Roger Maris, 1961 Home Run Leaders, 1958 Gus Bell, and a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan.
Bidding ends Oct. 5. Stenberg said items that are still available for sale at the end of the 10 days may be reposted for a second round of the auction.