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Minnesota Commerce Department hosting auction for hundreds of lost treasures

The auction goes from Sept. 1 through Sept. 13 and features hundreds of unclaimed items left in safety deposit boxes across the state.

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — If you're into treasure hunting, check this out.

Starting Sept. 1, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is hosting an auction of lost treasures.

"The items found on the auction site were essentially abandoned in a safety deposit box," Jacqueline Olson with the Minnesota Department of Commerce says.

We're talking about coins, jewelry, gems, even baseball cards.

"A lot of those safety deposit boxes get forgotten at times or the lease expires on that safety deposit and nobody claims them, the original owner doesn't claim them,” Olson says.

Here’s how it works:

Banks by law have to hold onto these unclaimed items for a certain amount of time and try to track down the owners.

If they can't, the items get turned over to the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

After a few years the items get sold at auction.

"It's likely that the person who had these items originally passed away and maybe their heirs or next of kin never even knew about it,” Olson says.

The last auction they held was in 2019.

It brought in more than $115,000.

Commerce officials say the most expensive item they have ever auctioned off was a coin from 1795 that sold for $27,500 in 2013.

Some other items they have sold in the past include a Babe Ruth autographed baseball, an antique sword and stock in Disney.

This auction will run from Sept. 1 until Sept. 13 at 2:00 p.m.

The auction includes thousands of items that are separated into around 700 lots that people can bid on.

"I think there are a lot of great treasures people can take a look at,” Olson says.

The money that is brought in from each item is saved on file in case an heir decides to claim it.

“Sometimes no one ever claims that money,” Olson explains. “It can be held forever.”

If you want to check out the upcoming auction, click here to visit the auction website.

If you want to check and see if you or a family member has unclaimed property, click here to be directed to the Minnesota Department of Commerce website.

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