For more than 30 years, the "Great Iowa Treasure Hunt" program has helped locate rightful owners of unclaimed cash, from forgotten bank accounts, uncashed insurance benefits, or lost stocks.
The program also returns unclaimed property, like items that may have been abandoned in a safe deposit box.
The program has been around since the early 80's. "I was just amazed at how much money people lose track of," said State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald.
It's not just money, but stuff. Actual goods go missing, or need to be reunited with their proper owner. "That's right," Fitzgerald said. "And it's all over the state. These are Sioux City folks that have put money in the lock boxes in the local banks, locked away their family treasures, bank could not find them, gave them to us. We want to return them to the rightful owners."
A small sampling shows silverware, jewelry, watches, and coins. "Everybody's grandfather had a pocketwatch at one day or another," said Fitzgerald, "We get coin collections, we get old stocks, grandmother's silverware, dollar bills... the list goes on. We've gotten crazy stuff, false teeth and whatnot. But what people think is valuable, they lock away and a lot of times it just ends up in the Treasurer's vault."
There are sports cards. Even an Ernie Banks card. Old currency, maybe confederate money, is out there, too. ""Absolutely," said Fitzgerald. "A lot of people collect that stuff, whether it's coins. or dollar bills, confederate money, foreign country's money. Some of it is very very valuable." Valuable stuff. In cases, the department has the name of the name of the person, but it hasn't been able to track them down. "That's right," Fitzgerald said. "We have the name, we've advertised in the newspaper, we have them on the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt website. But, you know, the bank couldn't find them. Now we are having a hard time finding them. We're looking for them and that's our mission. Return this property to the rightful owners."
For more, go to the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt website, online. You can call up a claim form, fill it out, and check for your other family names too and such. Or just call (515) 281-5368.
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