800+ Bank Boxes to be Auctioned Off

Tuesday, Aug 18 2015 01:47 PM

TONAWANDA, N.Y.(WIVB) – On Saturday, August 29, history will be up for sale.

An auction is scheduled that will offer more than 800 unclaimed safe deposit boxes. Everything from Confederate money to family heirlooms from around the state will be auctioned off at Cash, Realty and Auction in Tonawanda.

Some of the safe deposit boxes haven’t been touched since the 1970s and their contents date back even further.

“There are literally thousands and thousands of silver dollars, many of them from the 1800s; 1880s silver dollars and so forth,” explained auctioneer Cash Cunningham.

Some of the boxes contain gold Krugerrands, which are South African gold coins; diamond engagement rings, silver bullion and vintage watches. One box even contains World War II Nazi memorabilia ...

MORE INFO | See all the items up for bid

Historic pendant found in one of the boxes
Historic pendant found in one of the boxes

“It’s just like you would see on Storage Wars or one of the storage shows. It’s the same kind of thing, only it’s extraordinarily high end,” Cunningham told News 4.

These safe deposit boxes ended up at the auction house because after a certain amount of years without making payments, generally about three, they become delinquent.

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw told News 4 that it’s not uncommon.

Legally, the bank has to make serious efforts to find the box’s owner. They generally send notices, call and put an ad in the newspaper.

“In most cases the person is deceased and that’s why the payment obviously were not made, or someone financially just cannot make the payments,” Mychajliw said.

The boxes will arrive by armoured car the day of the auction, but everything that’s up for bid can be found in detail here.


The bidders will set the price, according to Cunningham.  He’ll get a commission, and the bank will take what it’s owed.  The rest of the money goes to the State Comptroller’s Office.  Cunningham is expecting a couple hundred people to show up, and said everything must go.


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