Last minute bids raise unclaimed ring to $9,400

An expensive diamond engagement ring from Hancock County that was part of a state unclaimed property auction has sold for $9,400 after a flurry of last-minute bidding, a spokesman said Thursday.

West Virginia Treasurer’s Office spokesman Greg Stone declined to give the name of the winning bidder, saying he is prohibited by law from releasing the name without the person’s consent.

The ring, which had been put up for bid on May 15, sold on Thursday for a winning bid $3,250 higher than the minimum bid of $6,150, Stone said. The ring had been appraised at $14,000, making it the most expensive piece of unclaimed property ever to be auctioned by the Treasurer’s Office.

Starting Monday, there were more than 30 bids on the ring – most of them by two people, according to the auction website

Bidding closed at $7,150 on Wednesday and then increased by mostly $50 increments throughout Thursday morning. The last bid was placed at 10:18 a.m.

The Treasurer’s Office holds online auctions periodically to dispose of unclaimed property that has been left in safe-deposit boxes and turned over to the state by banks.

If the winning bidder of the Hancock County ring turns out to be the rightful owner, he or she likely will not have to pay the money to get it back, Stone said.

“They can file a claim for the ring and get the ring back,” he said.

The money from the winning bid will remain with the unclaimed property account as further attempts are made to find the rightful owner, he said.

The winning bidder still will be required to pay the auctioneer’s commission and fees.

The 18-karat white gold engagement ring features a 2-carat round center diamond. A 14-karat white gold “enhancer,” soldered onto the ring on each side includes 10 smaller diamonds that surround the main stone in two semi-circles.

“We’re excited because you just don’t see many rings like this,” State Treasurer John Perdue said when the auction opened. “To date, this is the highest appraisal an item offered in any of our auctions has ever received.”