Standing between an expansive gold-plated brass flatware set and a silver tea set, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg slid two nearly identical, four-and-a-half carat diamond rings onto her pinky finger.
"Isn't it sad that somebody's family member didn't get that as an engagement ring?" Goldberg said, tilting her hand so the light would catch on the large center stones.
The pair of rings -- which staff in the treasurer's office believe were converted from earrings, and expect to fetch upwards of $10,000 each -- are among the centerpieces in the collection of unclaimed property Goldberg's office plans to sell in an online auction set to begin Saturday.
Left in safe deposit boxes for years and belonging to estates without heirs, the goods -- including jewelry, cutlery, coins, comic books, baseball cards and other collectibles -- were displayed in the State House Monday, and will be showcased in locations throughout the state before the first 100 lots go up for auction on eBay.
Auction proceeds will go to the state governments' general fund, and heirs who discovery family items included in the sale will be able to go through a process to reclaim their property, according to Goldberg's staff.
The treasurer's office has said the vast majority of auction items come from safe deposit boxes whose contents have gone unclaimed for at least nine years. Once the property is turned over to the state, the treasurer's unclaimed property division attempts to reach owners through outreach and advertising, and holds preview events at various locations.
Want to preview items that will be auctioned off by @FindMassMoney? The countdown to the @eBay auction on October 26th has officially started with a 14k white gold diamond bracelet! #12DaysofeBay #TuesdayTip pic.twitter.com/7eqT3rrrzs— Deborah Goldberg (@MassTreasury) October 15, 2019
Bidders will have the chance to vie for Wade Boggs, Don Mattingly and Roger Clemens baseball cards; a trio of first-day issue Susan B. Anthony coins; silver frames with antique photos; a variety of bracelets and rings; 15 silver bars; a collection of 87 half-dollar coins, and more.
"One of the most fascinating" items, Goldberg said, is a silver spoon engraved with a series of Boston icons: the State House in the bowl and Paul Revere, the Bunker Hill monument, Old North Church along the handle, with a jar of Boston baked beans at the top. Engraved on the back is the date Aug. 2, 1947, and the name "Geraldine."
After ticking off memorable items from past years' actions -- including a Red Sox pennant and a sapphire bracelet -- Goldberg said the unique spoon was "my favorite thing" this time around.
"I love it," she said. "Of all the things, this is what I would want from this one. It doesn't fit on my wrist, however."
Here's where a sampling of auction items will be displayed this week:
Tuesday, 12-6 p.m., Cape Cod Irish Village, 822 Route 28, S. Yarmouth
Wednesday, 12-5 p.m., Plainridge Park Casino, Food Court, 301 Washington St, Plainville
Thursday, 12-5 p.m., Springfield State Office Building, Lobby 436 Dwight Street, Downtown Springfield
Friday, 12-5 p.m., Massachusetts State Lottery Office, 151 West Boylston Drive, Worcester
State House News Service