CFO Jeff Atwater today announced that the Unclaimed Property Auction held last Saturday in Fort Lauderdale was the highest-grossing auction in the 52-year history of Florida’s unclaimed property program, breaking the previous record by $430,000. The auction, which drew 336 bidders, raised a total of $1.67 million for Florida’s schools from more than 80,000 individual items sold.
“This auction was a tremendous success for Florida’s unclaimed property program and the families who benefit from the program’s important work,” said Atwater. “I am very proud of the men and women in my department who work tirelessly to reunite Floridians with their dollars and property while also doing so much to help our public schools with the sales from our auctions.”
Atwater opened as guest auctioneer, selling featured items such as two 1776 continental notes. All auctioned items were from abandoned safe deposit boxes at Florida financial institutions.
Unclaimed money, including the earnings from auctions, is deposited into the state school fund, where, until claimed, it is used for public education. There is no statute of limitations, and citizens have the right to claim their property any time at no cost.
In his first 30 months in office, CFO Atwater’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property has seen record returns, reuniting more than 850,000 owners, heirs and businesses with more than $574 million, which represents 27 percent of the total value of property returned since the program’s inception in 1961.