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Safe Deposit Boxes

Nest Egg Auctions has years of experience selling the contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes and other such property for banks, organizations, courts, and the SEC.

Selling Abandoned Safe Deposit Boxes at Nest Egg Auctions

Nest Egg Auctions has years of experience selling abandoned safe deposit boxes at auction. Auctions of safe deposit boxes are slightly different from our typical sales, but we are experienced and skilled in navigating the escheatment process. Banks, courts, and other organizations trust Nest Egg Auctions to sell abandoned safe deposit boxes, as well as other abandoned and seized property. After all, we are a trusted and court approved auction with a commitment to doing right by our clients.

This article will hopefully answer most questions regarding what to do with abandoned safe deposit boxes, from the process of opening them and transporting them, to selling their contents at auction.

What is a Safe Deposit Box?

First, what is a safe deposit box? A safe deposit box is a box, kept under lock and key and often in a vault, usually at a location like a bank. They are rented and used by individuals or groups to keep important documents and valuable items, as they are incredibly secure.

What is Found in Abandoned Safe Deposit Boxes?

Safe deposit boxes hold things of value and importance, like important documents. So, oftentimes, abandoned safe deposit boxes hold papers, such as someone’s personal financial documents. These, of course, have little value to anyone but that person. However, due to the security of a safe deposit box, one can find other objects as well. It is common to find jewelry, coins, and other smaller valuables within a safe deposit box. Precious metals and gems, of course, do have great value, and are good candidates for auction. We have found a variety of items in safe deposit boxes, including antiques, historical pieces, and, basically, anything else. If it can fit in a safe deposit box, someone has put it in one!

This also means that people have stored various other things within safe deposit boxes. Sometimes one finds cash, and this goes through a different escheatment process (please check your state’s laws on this). The same goes for guns and weapons, which may be subject to state and/or federal laws and regulations. Nest Egg Auctions has a sister auction in CT Firearms Auction, and we direct questions regarding objects of that type there. If you find human remains in a safe deposit box, and the owner cannot be verified for return, there are multiple ways to deal with this. Please contact us for more information, or check local and / or federal laws.

What is “Escheatment”?

According to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Escheatment is “the process of turning custody of abandoned assets or accounts over to a state authority”. Once someone abandons assets or accounts, a period of time (often five years) passes before a bank or organization hands them over to the state to hold in escheatment. This period of time and the process differ by state: in the State of Connecticut, escheatment usually occurs between 3 and 5 years. The processes for Massachusetts and New York are similar.

Once the state receives the assets, the state can use them, and will often liquidate these assets. If the assets or accounts are monetary, this is an easy process. If the assets are something like a safe deposit box with jewelry inside, this can be slightly more difficult.

What do I do with Abandoned Safe Deposit Boxes?

Once someone abandons property, it goes through the escheatment process. The holding organization turns over the funds to the state, but first, one must open the boxes.

Opening Abandoned Safe Deposit Boxes

Since the renter of the box has the key, you must drill the boxes to open them. This should be done and recorded on video to show the opening of the boxes and their contents. Clarity is everything, so the video should clearly show the drilling and opening of the safe deposit boxes, with the contents found within clearly shown and displayed for the camera. This will save much time and many headaches later.

Transporting Abandoned Safe Deposit Boxes

After the boxes are opened and their contents recorded, you should liquidate their contents for the escheatment process. This can be accomplished by a trusted auctioneer, like Nest Egg Auctions. Next, you should transport the safe deposit boxes by armored car to the auctioneer. This ensures the safe transport of these assets, making sure that they make the trip and are not tampered with during transit. Do record and keep track of the safe deposit boxes for the entire journey, due to the escheatment process. Meticulous record keeping makes everything easier for us at Nest Egg Auctions, as well as for the state.

Auctioning Abandoned Safe Deposit Boxes

This is where Nest Egg Auctions comes in. We work with various banks, state organizations, and the SEC to liquidate assets like jewelry, gold and silver bullion, art, and more; if it can be sold, Nest Egg can sell it. We sell these objects for their consignors, and these physical assets are made liquid.

Nest Egg Auctions, as an experienced Safe Deposit Box auctioneer, will run a secure auction, where we sell the contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes and liquidate them into funds to be turned over to the state for the escheatment process.

Our Auction Process for Abandoned Safe Deposit Boxes

Nest Egg Auctions would take in the safe deposit boxes and securely store them. Then, we would make an inventory. Our expert cataloging staff would carefully record and evaluate the contents for their value and enter them into our catalog. Next, our professional photographer will capture high quality images of the objects for clarity. We then market the lots to our worldwide network of bidders and offer them at auction in a well-advertised public sale.

We would have a set auction day, where the lots come up for auction and our experienced auctioneer would field bids to ensure the highest price for the lots. Nest Egg Auctions can record the bids carefully in our dedicated auction software.

Finally, after the auction, the winning bidders pay for their item(s). Soon, you are paid for the sale of all of the lots, less any commission and / or fees. You can  then turn these funds over to the state for the escheatment process.

Why Sell with Nest Egg Auctions?

Nest Egg Auctions is a trusted and court-approved auctioneer, with close to three decades of experience in the auction business. We have handled multiple cases for the SEC and banks. Our areas of expertise also line up well with what you find in a safe deposit box: coins, jewelry, watches, and gold and silver bullion. Finally, we are fully equipped to safely and securely store, handle, sell, and ship items consigned with us.

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