- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - Every year the State of Oregon collects unclaimed contents of safe deposit boxes of people who died, or for some reason quit paying rent for the boxes.

And every two years, people gather to bid on the unclaimed stuff, which is mostly jewelry and coins, but could be all sorts of valuables.

“I’ve seen it all. We’ve had a necklace go for $10,000,” said Wayne Liska, longtime Grants Pass auctioneer. “We had a Ty Cobb baseball card. I think it went for $7,500.”

Liska would know. He’s had the contract with the state for 17 years, and for the first time he’s brought the auction to Grants Pass. It’s usually in Salem, though the last one was in White City.

The auction preview runs all day Thursday, followed by the coin auction on Friday and the jewelry auction on Saturday. It’s part of the state’s unclaimed property program, overseen by the Department of State Lands.

Liska and Timari Cox, who owns Liska Oregon Auction Company, Liska’s former company, are the auctioneers.

The auction house is at 202 Redwood Highway, a block south of Caveman Bridge.

Cox spent four days in Salem photographing all the items - 1,100 lots in all - which can be seen on her company’s Facebook page.

“We have people flying in from all over the country for this auction,” Cox said. “It’s going to be a packed house.”

Patrick Tate, spokesman for the Department of State Lands, expects the auction to generate about $250,000.

The proceeds are held in trust in the Common School Fund, which generates interest earnings that are sent to Oregon schools twice a year.

Because the principal remains untouched, any owners who, for whatever reason, show up years later may still claim the money paid for the unclaimed items when they are auctioned.

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Information from: Daily Courier, http://www.thedailycourier.com

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