George Brett Baseball, Other Items Found in Unclaimed Property Vaults
JEFFERSON CITY – A baseball signed by Kansas City Royals’ Hall of Famer George Brett, cowboy spurs and a Looney Tunes tie collection were among items State Treasurer Clint Zweifel put on display Tuesday as he opened the Unclaimed Propertyvaults in Jefferson City.
The items were found in 1,000 new safe deposit boxes that have been turned over by law since November and are being opened and catalogued so they can be returned to their legal owners.
“Each year we find new and interesting pieces tucked away in safe deposit boxes – it can be a very personal items like baby photos or a collection of gold coins, we see it all,” Zweifel said. “Safe deposit boxes make up less than 1 percent of the more than $600 million in Unclaimed Property that I hold, but the contents show us what people consider valuable. No matter what is found in the boxes, I always return it free of charge and the property never becomes the state’s.”
Since taking office in January 2009, Treasurer Zweifel has returned more than $113 million in Unclaimed Property to more than 347,000 accounts owners.
Treasurer Zweifel receives safe deposit boxes from banks after they have had five years of no contact with the owners. This year more than 130 banks turned over safe deposit boxes. The property received in safe deposit boxes is sold at auction as needed after about two years in the state’s vaults, with the proceeds held indefinitely for owners. This does not include the 93 military medals, honors and insignia currently held by Treasurer Zweifel.
In 2010, Zweifel championed legislation that ensures no future State Treasurer can sell these pieces of history.
“In February, we had the great fortune to return a lost military medal to the family of a WWI veteran who served his country valiantly in France,” Zweifel said. “Each military medal and honor I hold is receiving the utmost care, and I am working with every agency I can to return the medals or see them on display. When I took office, I made a promise to never sell these important pieces of our shared past. I am proud to know that thanks to the change in Missouri law, no veteran will ever have to worry about losing this important symbol of the sacrifice he or she made.”
Zweifel also receives Unclaimed Property from financial institutions, insurance companies, public agencies and other business entities if there has been no documented transaction or contact with the owner for five or more years. Most Unclaimed Property consists of cash, stocks and bonds from abandoned accounts. The average account returned is $300 and one in 10 Missourians has Unclaimed Property.
Missourians may check for Unclaimed Property 24 hours-a-day at www.ShowMeMoney.com. New property is added weekly.
About 55 percent of claims are eligible for paperless processing, and wait times have been cut in half.
Individuals may also sign up for email notifications and can track a submitted claim from the website.
Following is an overview of the Unclaimed Property found in each region of Missouri:
- Kansas City Region (Bates, Carroll, Cass, Clay, Henry, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Platte, Ray): $98.8 million in more than 755,000 accounts.
- Mid-Missouri Region (Audrain, Benton, Boone, Callaway, Camden, Cole, Cooper, Dent, Gasconade, Howard, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Montgomery, Morgan, Osage, Pettis, Phelps, Pulaski, Saline): $24.5 million in more than 265,000 accounts.
- Northeast Missouri Region (Adair, Chariton, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Pike, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Sullivan): $7.4 million in more than 71,000 accounts.
- Northwest Missouri Region (Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Livingston, Mercer, Nodaway, Worth): $9 million in more than 89,000 accounts.
- Southeast Missouri Region (Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Iron, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Reynolds, Ripley, Scott, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, Wayne): $14.3 million in more than 170,000 accounts.
- Southwest Missouri Region (Barry, Barton, Cedar, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Douglas, Greene, Hickory, Howell, Jasper, Laclede, Lawrence, McDonald, Newton, Oregon, Ozark, Polk, Shannon, St. Clair, Stone, Taney, Texas, Vernon, Webster, Wright): $35 million in more than 383,000 accounts.
- St. Louis Region (Crawford, Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, St. Charles, St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Warren, Washington): $205.4 million in more than 1.2 million accounts.