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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hundreds of Bank Safety Deposit Boxes Go Unclaimed in Missouri

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 3:55 PM

click to enlarge More than a thousand of these were popped open today in Jefferson City.
  • More than a thousand of these were popped open today in Jefferson City.
Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel cracked open 1,200 safety deposit boxes today sent to his office from banks across the state. Among the curios inside the boxes were gold coins, military medals, 19th-century U.S. currency and a baby's rattle.

"Safe deposit boxes are a small part of the more than $600 million in unclaimed property I hold, but the contents we find in the boxes often share some of the most interesting stories including family bibles, land grants and more," said Zweifel.

Banks must wait at least five years without contact with the owner of the safety deposit box before shipping the property to the treasurer's office. Once in Jefferson City, the boxes are opened and their content cataloged. After two more years in the state's unclaimed property vaults, the items are sold at auction -- except for military medals which Zweifel considers too historical and sentimental to sell. Proceeds from the auction are then available to anyone who has a legal claim to the items.

Over the past two years the treasurer's office has returned more than $72 million in unclaimed property to over 200,000 account owners. To see if Zweifel has some of your unclaimed property in his vaults, check out Missouri's Unclaimed Property Database.

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