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Minnesota Commerce Department launches first online auction for unclaimed property

7/19/2018 8:53:11 AM

For Immediate Release

SAINT PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Commerce has launched the state’s first online auction of unclaimed property from abandoned safe deposit boxes. The auction features jewelry, coins and collectible items, including a Joe Montana rookie sports card and vintage John Deere toy tractors.

The online auction, including the catalog of more than 480 items up for bid, can be accessed at Fahey Sales. Fahey Sales is a 71-year-old, Glencoe-based company that is managing the auction.

The auction began on Wednesday evening, July 18, and will continue until 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 1.

“The online auction is an efficient method to reach a much larger audience of potential bidders and secure the highest market price for these items,” said Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman, whose agency administers the state’s Unclaimed Property Program. “This is important because the sale proceeds are held in trust to be claimed by the original property owners or their rightful heirs.”

State law requires that safe deposit box contents be turned over to the Unclaimed Property Program after at least five years of no activity and nonpayment of rent. The financial institution must send a final notification to the last known address of the safety deposit box owner before transferring the contents to the Program. 

The Unclaimed Property Program holds items for at least three additional years, making them available to claim prior to any item being sold at auction. 

State law requires the Commerce Department to hold an auction at least once every 10 years. The last auction was held in 2013.

The Commerce Department advises anyone with a safe deposit box to check it at least once a year and make sure payment is up to date. Information about the safe deposit box should also be kept with other important financial papers.

In addition to safe deposit box contents, the Commerce Department’s Unclaimed Property Program receives abandoned bank accounts, unpaid insurance benefits and uncashed refund or payroll checks from businesses that are unable to locate the owners. The Department is responsible for safeguarding these funds and holding them until claimed. 

During the past five years, the Commerce Department has returned nearly $180 million in unclaimed property to Minnesotans. 

Minnesotans can search for their unclaimed property through the Commerce Department website or at


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