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State selling unclaimed property with online auction


MOUNT HOREB, Wis. (WSAU) -- Wisconsin is about to sell unclaimed property, and it’s the first time they will use an online auction to sell the items. Jack Jablonski is with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, which manages unclaimed property. He says unclaimed property belongs to someone, but they just can’t locate the owners.

Jablonski says there are a lot of items up for sale. “A lot of it has been sitting in people’s safety deposit boxes over the course of the years, and basically, it’s been inactive for some period of time, three years with us and five years with whoever was holding it. We’ve got all of this property, 85 lots, that we’ve now put up for auction.”  He says, “Basically, we can’t locate the owner, so be it a bank that can’t find the owners, somebody hasn’t claimed the property after a certain period of years, in this case five years, and when they transfer it to the state, we can’t find the owner for a period of time, we basically send it to an auction, and we’re going to hold the money for the people hoping that we can locate them sometime in the future.”

Jablonski says the state doesn’t want the property, and even after the auction, they try to locate the rightful owners to pay them from the auction proceeds.  “The whole point of unclaimed property is most people don’t know they have something out there. Our purpose is to basically find the rightful owner of the property that we’re holding in their trust.”

He encourages people to check out the state’s websites, revenue.wi.gov, and click the “unclaimed property” tab. For the auction lots, people should check the site where surplus state property is sold at wisconsinsurplus.com.   “It’s generally the original owner, but if it’s a sibling that can basically take on the estate of their parent who perhaps, is deceased, it could be that as well.”

Jablonski says there are many types of things available in the unclaimed property auction.  “A lot of jewelery. Some really unique things, too, like Beatles collector cards, antique magic cards. We’ve even got a set of Shaquille O’Neal collector basketball cards, Pokemon flying pikachu trading cards, things that people put away in a safe deposit box, and then probably forgot it or haven’t claimed it for a period of years.”

The unclaimed property auction runs through June 23rd.

Property can be inspected in person during business hours at Wisconsin Surplus in Mount Horeb, where the auction is based.

(Listen to our interview with Jack Jablonski on our website, here.)