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Holiday Shopping? The State Treasury May Have Something For You

It might not a huge shopping mall, but the State Treasury is offering shoppers a way to find unusual presents this holiday season.

Treasurer Rob McCord suggested holiday shoppers log onto the Treasury’s eBay auction site.

“One reason why it’s great at this time of the year is people start to look around for unusual gifts and great buys, great discounts,” McCord said. “And I’m very proud that Pennsylvania was the first state to have a continuous eBay auction for unclaimed property.”

According to McCord, the Treasury receives millions of dollars worth of unclaimed property each year such as abandoned bank accounts, uncashed checks and forgotten rebates.

However, they also receive items like watches, swords, collectible musical instruments and jewelry.

If the Treasury cannot locate the original owner, these items are evaluated and auctioned on the eBay site.

McCord admitted he is not an avid shopper, but he does use the free database to see whether he or his loved ones need to claim property.

“I tend to take advantage of the unclaimed property page to find not just for people I care about but for companies and non-profit organizations, so I’ve had the great pleasure of finding money and giving it back to schools, to firefighters, even to animal protection shelters,” McCord said.

He estimated that one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property averaging about $1,200.

Treasury Department currently holds about $2.2 billion in unclaimed property.

The site has generated nearly $5 million in sales for Pennsylvania since its initiation in 2001.  That money is maintained for the owner to claim.

McCord said he might start shopping on the site himself this holiday season, but…

“For me the gift is getting to find resources and give them to folks and give them back to folks, to their rightful owners,” McCord said.

Jess is from Elizabeth Borough, PA and is a junior at Duquesne University with a double major in journalism and public relations. She was named as a fellow in the WESA newsroom in May 2013.