NM to auction unclaimed property, gold coins

July 18, 2013 • State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 7-pound gold bar. An 1802 bottle of Napoleon Cognac. A stuffed teddy bear with a lost story.

Those are among the unclaimed property in the state’s possession that the Taxation and Revenue Department plans to auction off next week, Gov. Susana Martinez and state officials announced Thursday.

The auction is the first of its kind in nearly 20 years, though New Mexico law requires that state officials auction off unclaimed items within three years of [auth] their discovery.

“New Mexico collects all unclaimed property,” Martinez said at an Albuquerque press conference announcing the auction. “Most if it has some sentimental value to someone.”

But after a press blitz showcasing some of the unclaimed property and no one coming forward to claim the items, the state is obligated to auction them off to the general public.

The live auction, planned July 27, will feature nearly 800 lots, including a 7-pound gold bar, more than 220 U.S. and foreign gold coins, nearly 1,900 U.S. silver dollars and a number of pieces of American Indian art.

Taxation and Revenue Department Secretary Demesia Padilla said the state could bring in around “$1 million to millions” from the sales. Live and online auctions are being held.

C.L. Bentley, CEO of the Amarillo, Texas-based Bentley’s Auction House, said the gold bar valued at around $113,000 has attracted a number of interests. “We’ve already had more than 200,000 hits on website and 38 people register for the online auction,” he said. “We’re going to have all kinds of items, from rare comics to rare coins.”

Padilla said owners of items can still claim the property before the auction. After the items are sold, the owners can claim part of the proceeds provided that they could show proof of ownership.

The money raised through the auction will go to the state’s general fund, Padilla said.)

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