State treasury has gifts for you
Nov 21, 2012 (Beaver County Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
If you don't yet have a plan for holiday shopping this weekend, the Pennsylvania Treasury has a suggestion: Stay home on Black Friday, kick back with your laptop and find some unique gifts on the department's eBay site.
The site, a place for the treasury to dispose of unclaimed property for more than a decade, is about to be beefed up for the Christmas season's biggest weekend, officials at the treasury said on Tuesday, and that should mean listings for unique items at auction prices.
"Treasury's unclaimed property eBay auction offers collectibles and gifts that often aren't found in traditional stores," state Treasurer Rob McCord said in a statement. "So rather than fight crowds on Black Friday, check out the deals we offer through our eBay store from the comfort and convenience of your own computer."
On Wednesday, the site had just seven items, ranging from sterling flatware to jewelery, listed. But that will change by Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the season, said department spokesman Michael Smith.
"We have many items ready to list in the next day or two," Smith said. "They'll all be listed for seven days, so they'll all up for Cyber Monday."
What's to come A statement from the treasury said digital cameras, gold jewelry and pendants, video games and accessories, power tools and vintage toys, like a Mattel Barbie doll.
Smith said the bulk of the treasury's unclaimed items come from every imaginable source -- abandoned bank accounts or safe deposit boxes, uncashed checks or forgotten stocks. But the items sold at eBay auction have been recovered by police investigating thefts or other crimes.
But before anyone frets over the ethics of buying stolen goods, keep this in mind the owners of the goods can still claim whatever money is generated by the sale.
"We maintain the money from the auctions for future claims," Smith said. "It is always our hope that we can return that money to the people who deserve it."
Since the treasury started the auction site in 2001, it has brought in more than $4.7 million in sales, money that can still be claimed by the owner of the sold items. In his statement, McCord said the treasury estimates that one in 10 state residents have some kind of unclaimed property, and the average claim is about $1,200.
"That money isn't ours," Smith said. "We'd urge everyone to check out the eBay auctions, and then search their names on our site to see if we have unclaimed property that belongs to them."
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