The vast majority of unclaimed property reported by companies and financial institutions to state governments is either money (in the form of uncashed checks, unredeemed payroll, unused credits) or "intangible" property -- things that represent a right to payment or the ownership of some financial asset (e.g., stocks, bonds, insurance policies, etc.). However, banks also report items from abandoned safe deposit boxes under most states unclaimed property laws. What do the states do with those items? Many times, the property is auctioned off, and the funds kept by the state (for the benefit of the rightful owner).
In fact, starting today and running through Friday morning, Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford's Office is hosting an unclaimed property auction. Among the items up for online bidding are coins, jewelry, and other keepsakes. The auction website can be found here. Happy bidding!