inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

PA Treasury Sets New Record for Unclaimed Property Auction Proceeds

(From a press release)

Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced today that Treasury’s fall unclaimed property auction brought in more than $298,000, the most ever generated by an unclaimed property auction in Pennsylvania. All proceeds are carefully logged by Treasury and will remain available for the rightful owners to claim no matter how much time passes.

“This is outstanding news, and we’re very pleased that the auction generated such an incredible result,” Treasurer Garrity said. “We work for at least three years to find the rightful owners of every item that comes to Treasury’s vault. But eventually, we do have to auction items to make room for incoming property. All auction proceeds remain at Treasury for a rightful owner to claim anytime – whether that’s tomorrow, a few months from now, or many years down the road.”

More than 4,200 items were sold during the auction that took place online on October 25 and 26, 2023. Treasury partners with Pook & Pook, Inc., of Downingtown for auctioneer and appraisal services.

“This was another tremendously successful collaboration with the Pennsylvania Treasury,” President of Pook & Pook Deidre Pook Magarelli said. “I believe this was our biggest Coins & Jewelry auction to date, and strong prices were achieved across the board in all categories. I’m continually impressed with the stellar effort the Pennsylvania Treasury puts forth into reuniting unclaimed property with its original owners, and, when that is not possible, making sure that monetary compensation for that unclaimed property is available to those individuals in perpetuity. It’s a huge undertaking, and Pook & Pook appreciates playing a part in this important process. We look forward to our next collaboration, a Coins & Jewelry auction scheduled for March 27, 2024.”

The highest selling price of a Treasury item was $27,000 for a collection of 25 early baseball tobacco cards, including Cy Young, Pennsylvania’s own Christy Mathewson and other Hall of Famers. Other high-price items included:

  • US Proof Set of collectible coins sold for $7,500
  • Two Platinum and diamond engagement rings sold for $6,500 each
  • 14K white gold ring with a 3.6 carat pear-shaped diamond sold for $4,400
  • Vietnamese gold bars sold for $2,200
  • $20 Gold St. Gaudens Double Eagle coin sold for $1,800

Treasury expects to net $298,029.60 after Pook & Pook receives its 12 percent commission of the full auction total of $338,670.00. The profits from the auction were more than $60,000 over the high estimate.

Items that are not sold at auction, or those not paid for by a winning bidder, are returned to Treasury to be listed in future auctions.

Treasury receives unclaimed property from businesses if the property has been dormant for three years. Tangible property, most often the contents of forgotten about safe deposit boxes, is stored in Treasury’s vault for another three years while Treasury tries to find the rightful owners. Treasury never auctions military decorations or memorabilia.

More than $4.5 billion in unclaimed property is available to be claimed. More than one in ten Pennsylvanians is owed unclaimed property, and the average claim is worth about $1,600.

To learn more about unclaimed property or to search Treasury’s database.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

PA Sits on $4B in ‘Unclaimed Property.’ Garrity Wants to Give it Back

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has $4 billion in other people’s money sitting in its coffers. State Treasurer Stacy Garrity wants to do something unusual with it.

She wants the government to give it back.

The state has created a “Money Match” program that would “automate the process of returning unclaimed property to rightful owners.”

“One of my top priorities has always been to return as much unclaimed property as possible to rightful owners,” Garrity told DVJournal.

“This is not our money; it belongs to hard-working Pennsylvanians,” she said. “Money Match will get more money to Pennsylvanians faster than ever before without any action by the person themselves.”

“It actually removes red tape – which is unheard of in government.”

The Treasury said “unclaimed property” includes things like dormant bank accounts, claims payments, accounts payable, uncashed checks, insurance policies, contents of forgotten safe deposit boxes, and more.

The state requires businesses to report funds of those types if they’ve laid dormant in accounts for three years. There has been a surge in unclaimed property flowing into Pennsylvania’s coffers recently, from $343 million in 2020 to $417 million last year.

The government is holding over $4 billion in unclaimed funds.

Normally, Pennsylvania residents must go through a lengthy process to recover any money that has ended up in the unclaimed account. The Money Match program will allow them to reclaim those funds after the state confirms their identity.

The measure will only apply to funds in amounts below $5,000. Any unclaimed money over that amount must follow the earlier, lengthier reclamation procedure.

The Treasury told DVJ that over 95 percent of unclaimed funds are less than $5,000.

The bill received backing from multiple state senators, including the Delaware Valley’s John Kane and Frank Farry, and has strong bipartisan support. It passed the GOP-controlled Senate unanimously. It currently sits in the House Finance Committee.

The state says 10 percent of Pennsylvanians have unclaimed property in the government’s coffers. Some residents use property recovery professionals to help return their funds. The Treasury stipulates that such individuals must “be certified as a finder by the Pennsylvania Treasury.”

The Treasury has held events to auction off unclaimed property in its holdings in the past.

Its most recent sale in April saw the auctioning of over 4,000 items, including “a 14K two-tone gold stick pin brooch with 2-carat diamond,” “multiple Engelhard 100 Troy ounce 999+ fine silver bars,” a gold George Melleze pocket watch, and “various comic books and magazines.”

Proceeds from the auction “will be carefully tracked,” Garrity said at the time, “and will always be available for the rightful owner to claim any time, even years or decades from now.”

On its website, the Treasury stresses it wishes to return the funds to their rightful owners as quickly as possible.

“Let’s be clear,” the department says, “this is YOUR money we’re talking about, and we don’t want to keep it.”