worker holds gold coin at jewelry store
LITTLE ROCK (KTHV) -- Monday Sept. 19 was the start of what Arkansas calls its month-long "Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt."
During the "Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt," the state auditor's office tries to match people with millions of dollars in cash and personal property that is rightfully theirs.
The bank or insurance company may not keep these valuables. By law, it must turn them over to the state, which makes a serious effort to find the owner.
Some of the unclaimed property is coins, silver certificates or other monetary property, but some of the more than $22 million worth of unclaimed property the auditor's office received this year was memories.
"We've got cash, stocks, bonds, old paychecks, old utility deposits," Jordan Foster of the Arkansas Auditor's Office.
Jordan says his office received more then $22 million worth of property just this year. Foster says, "this is property that has been turned over by banks and utility companies and other holders in Arkansas."
It's all part of the Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt and just some of the things that have been unclaimed this year are gold, silver certificates, fossilized shark tooth. Yes, a fossilized shark tooth.
Those are just some of the more interesting things the auditor's office has been tasked to find the owners of, but it's this box that hits home to many of those in the office.
"One of the more interesting deposit boxes that came into our office belonged to a man named Ernest Joe Johnson and he had all of his military medals in his safe deposit box," Foster adds.
A bank gave Johnson's Purple Heart and Bronze Star to the auditors office after the safety deposit box it had been sitting safely in all these years remained unclaimed.
"if you think about some of the other things that we have the cash, the stocks, the bonds the jewelry that have a set monetary value, this is something that had a deep personal and emotional value," Foster adds.
The auditor's office has tried to reach out to his family to give these medals back but have been unsuccessful like many who have unclaimed property part of the Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt but now here's your chance to see if you might have unclaimed treasures.
"You can always check our Great Treasure Hunt website. There's a quick search right on the home page just search for your last name to see whether you or a family member, friend neighbor you can search for anyone to see if they have unclaimed property," Foster says.