State to auction off unclaimed property in Columbia

The state treasurer's office will auction off unclaimed property this week at a Columbia conference center.

Unclaimed Property Director Scott Harper said the more than 1,700 items at this week's auction represent barely 1 percent of the inventory the treasurer's office holds. He said most of it comes from safe-deposit boxes whose owners have died or moved or had some other change in their lives. He said the treasurer's office takes possession of such property after about five years and tries to locate its rightful owner. If several years pass with no success, the property is auctioned off. Harper said the state will reimburse the property's former owners if they are located after the item is auctioned off. He said the state rarely has to bring anything back from auctions like this one.

Lying on the tables at the Garden Conference Center during Monday night's public viewing were untold dozens of coins of various vintage, dollar bills, silver certificates, assorted books and memorbilia and even pocket watches. Staff were on hand to give people a closer look at individual items and answer questions about the auction process. Public viewings are scheduled for 7-9 a.m. Tuesday and 8-9 a.m. Wednesday.

Items will be auctioned off on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the auctions beginning at 9 a.m. both days. The Garden Conference Center is located across from the Hilton Garden Inn on Vandiver Drive.