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Unclaimed safe deposit items go on sales block

Unclaimed property left in safe deposit boxes across the state will be auctioned next week in Salem.

The Oregon Department of State Lands will host the auction at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 26 at Parrish Middle School, 802 Capitol St. N.E. Liska Auctioneers of Grants Pass will conduct the auction.

An auction preview is scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. Jan. 25 at the school. Another preview begins at 8 a.m. Jan. 26.

Cyndi Wickham, the department's unclaimed property manager, said the auction will have 'a little bit of everything.'

'We're offering some nice coins and jewelry as well as collectible stamps and sports trading cards,' Wickham said.

Every year the department receives hundreds of boxes, envelopes and packages with contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes. Financial institutions must turn over the contents to the state when owners have not kept up payments and when owners are not located.

The department's unclaimed property staff looks for owners by posting names on a Web site searchable database and by doing some specialized individual searches. Contents that haven't been claimed within two years are sold at auction.

The most recent auction, held in March 2007, generated more than $90,000, Wickham said.