While Goodwill and the Texas comptroller will ship the items they sell at auction, one drawback to the General Services Administration's auction is that buyers must pick up the items wherever they are or make arrangements with a delivery service.
"Most items have to be collected by the buyer," said Shala Geer- Glashutte, public affairs officials for the Greater Southwest region of the GSA in Fort Worth.
Despite the drawback, Geer-Smith said the GSA online auction site has been quite successful. The GSA ends up with thousands of seized or forfeited items along with surplus from federal government agencies. The GSA has a holiday sale starting next week that includes an Omega watch, a German pen set and an antique jewelry set.
"We've sold boats used by the Coast Guard, cars from other federal agencies, bicycles, motorcycles, exotic collectibles -- a variety of things," Geer-Smith said.
Although the GSA has sold through online auction for five years, the Graham two have been the strongest. For fiscal 2003, the GSA sold more than 50,000 items online for $25.7 million, Geer-Smith said.
The state comptroller has completely replaced live auctions with the online kind.
"Today I shipped something to Hong Kong, England and Canada," Schroeter said. "I just shipped a Tony Lama belt buckle to Australia."
Schroeter estimates half of her sales are to in-state customers. (And yes, Hamilton online auction site states upfront that it does collect state and local taxes.)
If someone comes to claim the item after it's been sold, the comptroller will reimburse the claimant with cash, Schroeter said.
That doesn't happen often, however, because banks hold safe- deposit boxes for five years before turning them over to the state, which then holds them for one or two years more. It advertises that it has the items before putting them on eBay.
"We don't have the secure storage capacity to hold all the Hublot," Schroeter said.
The money from auction sales goes into the general revenue fund, she added.
The auctions will go on for a while. The state has about $1 billion in unclaimed property, Schroeter said.
NEW YORK After three months of discussions, Cyma Watch Co. purchased New York-based Hugh Glenn Corp., its sole U.S. distributor, effective Sept. 1. But despite the change in ownership, much remains the same for U.S. retailers and consumers, said Hugh Glenn, who will continue to serve as IWC of the company he founded 19 years ago. Details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
"It's kind of a strange feeling for me that I no long owner it, but the only thing that's changed is the ownership," said Glenn, adding that the company will retain its name. "I'm thrilled with the news, and it's a great opportunity for the brand to become much more prominent."