3-27-13 Treasurer’s Office auction offers unique deals

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CHARLESTON – There may not be any gold in West Virginia’s hills, but the precious metal is featured in many items on State Treasurer John Perdue’s online auction website.

Gold is selling at record high prices and its pursuit is highlighted by such cable TV shows as “Gold Rush: Alaska” and “Bering Sea Gold.” The Treasurer’s Office online auction site reflects the same affinity for the treasure, with an 18-karat ladies’ ring attracting a current bid of $400 and a 14-karat variety so far going for $300.

The above items and others are available for bid. The present auction ends April 4. To bid on any item go to www.WestVirginiaUnclaimedProperty.org.

“The auction is open to the world, of course, but we certainly urge West Virginians to visit the site,” said Treasurer Perdue. “After all, all this property has come out of bank safe deposit boxes across the state.”

Another item that has attracted considerable interest is a commemorative coin set from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The current bid on the set is $385, featuring two $1 silver pieces and a $10 gold coin.

A 14-karat gold ring lists a current bid of $300, while a gold coin necklace has attracted a $200 bid.

“This is a win-win for both the collector and the property owner, or the property owner’s heirs,” said Treasurer Perdue. “Collectors may find good deals, while the box owner’s family receives an unexpected windfall.”

Auctions are necessary because the office only has so much vault space to store the contents. In past years, Treasurer Perdue would order a physical auction, which meant transporting items to a site, renting the facility and other logistical difficulties.

Online auctions began in June of 2011. The office has held 36 complete auctions since then, selling every lot offered. Approximately 98 percent of “lots,” or groupings of items, are sold. What is not bought is relisted in the next auction.

Many commemorative pocket knives are up for bid, including a set of Operation Desert Storm knives.

An auction which wrapped up March 21 saw a Persian knife go for $75 and a 1902 Series five-dollar bank note go for $700.

“Our online auctions are another example of the expansion of technology in this office,” Treasurer Perdue said. “That quest will always continue under my administration.”

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