Going once, twice ... Safety-deposit box auction begins

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The Minnesota Department of Commerce on Wednesday night allowed the public to look over the items up for sale Thursday and Friday in the department's Unclaimed Safe-Deposit Box Auction.

The once-a-decade auction at the Sheraton Minneapolis West features roughly 5,000 unclaimed items left behind in safe deposit boxes around the state, and featured items include a Babe Ruth-autographed baseball, vintage jewelry, a $1,000 bill, old coins, stamps and paintings.

Other items, according to the department: a tiffany cigarette lighter, and a wide variety of gold and vintage jewelry.

The Star Tribune notes that the last such auction, in 2003, netted $258,000, and the money was put in the original owners’ accounts, available to be collected by anyone with claims to the estate.

KSTP-TV reports that the Commerce Department tries to contact the rightful owners of unclaimed possessions for about 10 years, and if they can't be found, state law mandates that the items must go up for bids at a public auction.

More details from the state can be found here. The auction begins at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday and Friday at the hotel.

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