Millions In Forgotten Valuables Become Property Of State


UPDATED: Monday February 25, 2013 6:38 PM

The state of Ohio takes custody of unclaimed cash from savings or bank accounts, wages, refunds or deposits and holds it until the owner can be found.

It also takes custody of abandoned safe deposit boxes, and anything they may contain.

A set of historic Graf Zeppelin stamps from the 1930s, a giant gold coin weighing one pound and bars of a metal called Indium are just some of the items left behind in safe deposit boxes.

"I'm a baseball card collector, so I think this is pretty amazing,” said Ohio Department of Commerce director David Goodman.

But the Walter Johnson baseball card circa 1909 that Goodman held belongs to somebody. Goodman wants to return it along with everything else people have lost or forgotten about.

"Obviously we're attempting to find the owners and we've not been able to and it's kind of mind-boggling to think that somebody for instance, has lost - this is practically a half-million dollars worth of gold Krugerrands,” Goodman said as he pointed to a pile of the gold coins.

Goodman wonders who could lose something valuable, and not have a loved one or a financial adviser not know about it.

When the fees for a safe deposit box have gone unpaid for three years the items in them become the property of the Ohio Department of Unclaimed Funds.

They could be coins, saving bonds or even stock certificates with names on them.

Like one bearing the name Mary Jane Smith Dewitt that Goodman showed off.

If you know Mary Jane Smith Dewitt or recognize the property, and can prove it belongs to you, it’s yours.

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