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Imagine a lost-and-found box that contains, among other things, an autographed photo of St. Louis Cardinals great Stan Musial, family photographs, $50,000 worth of gold coins, a copy of a land grant from the 1850s bearing the signature of then-President James Buchanan, and a clown costume.

The Missouri Treasurer’s Office operates the state’s Unclaimed Properties office, and is seeking the owners of the above diverse items, plus many more.

Much of the unclaimed property is money through “abandoned” bank accounts or the contents from safe deposit boxes.

On Wednesday, State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick showed off some of those safe-deposit-box items in his Capitol office, his first event in an ongoing effort to bring attention to the unclaimed property, in hopes Missourians will check his office’s website to see if anything belongs to them.

“There’s a lot of interesting stuff here that obviously we would like to get back to the people who own it — so that’s why we’re doing this (display), to try to raise awareness about the stuff we get,” Fitzpatrick said. “We get about 1,000 safe deposit boxes a year, and the unclaimed properties division has to open all the boxes and make an inventory of their contents.”

If the office can’t find the rightful owners of the property within four to five years, it gets rid of the property through an annual auction.

We urge you to check the website — showmemoney.com — to see if the state treasurer has any of your belongings. It only takes a couple minutes, and you shouldn’t assume automatically that it’s a waste of time. One in 10 Missourians have unclaimed property — far better odds than the lottery.

Central Missouri Newspapers

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