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Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 8:22 p.m.

Oregon auctioning unclaimed property

MEDFORD, Ore. — Bitcoin might be all the rage, but if you’re into old-school currency the state next week will give you a chance to get a $20 bill from the Confederacy.
It’s among the unclaimed property from abandoned safety deposit boxes that will be up for bid next week in southern Oregon.
The property comes from 300 to 500 boxes considered to be abandoned because the owner failed to make rental payments and couldn’t be found for two years. Banks and other financial institutions send unclaimed contents to the state.
The Mail Tribune and Statesman Journal newspapers report that auction proceeds will be kept by the state in case the box owners come forward.
“That money is available for claim forever,” said Julie Curtis, spokeswoman for Oregon Department of State Lands, which manages the unclaimed property program.
Interest from the auction proceeds is distributed to Oregon K-12 public schools.
The auction starts at 9 a.m. April 4. It’s in the community of White City, about 10 miles north of Medford. An auction preview will take place the day before, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Besides money from the Confederacy, some available items include antique tools, silver bars and Michael Jordan basketball cards.
To alert the owners of abandoned boxes that their stuff might get sold, department officials post property owners’ names on an online database.
Past unclaimed contents have included valuable property such as antique jewelry and rare coin collections. Curtis said personal belongings such as photographs are sometimes left behind. One box contained a small amount of cat hair.
“It’s surprising what people think is valuable or is valuable to them,” Curtis said. “Sometimes there are unusual things.”

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