Online Auction Selling Abandoned Items

December 06, 2011

Here’s an interesting way to shop for the holidays: Bid on someone else’s stuff.

The Illinois Treasurer’s Office is hosting an Online Unclaimed Property Auction this week. The items for sale: Unclaimed money and assets left in safe deposit boxes in banks throughout Illinois for at least five years.

This visor for sale was signed by Stan Musial.

There are more than 15,000 items for sale including antiques, home furnishings, jewelry and clothing. You can bid on Beanie Babies, autographed merchandise, even a $500 bill.

In the past, interested bidders had to go to a live auction. Now, they can bid from the comfort of their Chicago real estate.

“We’ve never done it this way,” said State Treasurer Dan Rutherford.

“We have a wide variety of interesting items to sell in this auction. You’ll find anything from coins and antique jewelry to old baseball cards — there’s something that appeals to everyone.”

And, don’t think the state is getting the proceeds; those still belong to the rightful owners. Every item in the auction has been appraised, nothing will sell for less than 75 percent of its value, and the proceeds from each sale will be held for the original owners or heirs, regardless of whether those people are found.

The state does benefit off the interest from the sales, however.

Bidders must register online, there is a 2 percent administrative fee for any purchase, and buyer’s are responsible for shipping.

But I’ll bet you can get some interesting items that you couldn’t score from a mall.

Ready to check it out? The auction goes through Sunday, December 11, so start perusing other people’s stuff now at

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