Gold, Jewelry and . . . Sardines? A Look Inside California's Unclaimed Property Vault

Last week, we mentioned Illinois' auction of abandoned safe deposit box property (and similar auctions were held in Nebraska and Missouri.  Under most states' unclaimed property laws, property in safe deposit boxes is subject to being reported and turned over to the state 3 or 5 years after the rental period of the safe deposit box expires.

What do people keep in their safe deposit boxes?  Gold, jewelry, important papers, keepsakes and the like.  The Office of California State Controller has posted a photo album of some of the more *ahem* unusual items that have been delivered to the state for safekeeping.   Among the items is a sack of diamonds worth half a million dollars, baseball cards (including a Ken Griffey, Jr. rookie card), and a stack of gold and silver coins.

Of course, value is in the eye of the beholder.  While some people go through great lengths to protect cash, gold and memorabilia, other people stash other valuables like pictures of John Travolta or sardines.  Presumably, these items were left in different safe deposit boxes.  If not, then there is a 70s-TV loving tuna that should get its financial act together.

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