The Washington Department of Revenue has announced that it will be holding an unclaimed property auction this week, on May 18th and 19th. Among the items that will be up for auction are pocket watches, silver bars and other items removed from safe deposit boxes that have been left behind by their owners. Pursuant to the Washington Unclaimed Property Act, safe deposit box items are deemed abandoned if unclaimed "more than five years after the lease or rental period on the box or other repository has expired." (Rev. Code Wash. 63.29.160). The Act also gives the Department of Revenue the authority to sell such property, and provides by law that the purchaser of such items "takes the property free of all claims of the owner." (RCW 63.29.220).
More information concerning the auction can be found at the Department of Revenue's website.