Have you ever wondered what happened to the items you have had to surrender at airport security over the years?
There's a chance your confiscated belongings found a new owner Saturday at the state property auction in Natomas run by the California Department of General Services.
The auction featured hundreds of items that have been confiscated by the national Transportation Security Administration and the California Highway Patrol, along with surplus equipment from various state agencies. Items ranging from computers and cellphones to office furniture and jewelry were made available to the public.
"Most of the crowd consists of small businesses and resellers," said Monica Hassan, a spokeswoman for General Services. "We're expecting to see somewhere between 300 and 600 people come through the auction."
Participants were allowed to preview the items on Friday and Saturday morning. The auction itself began at 10 a.m. and bidders were required to submit a $100 refundable cash deposit in order to receive a bid paddle.
Hassan said the auction draws in a lot of resellers because items tend to be sold in bulk packages. While some lots do provide consumers with the option of bidding on just one item, such as a 17-inch Gateway flat screen monitor, most lots lump similar items together.
Ahmad Aladdasi, a Sacramento resident who has been attending the auction for years, said he makes a point of coming to check out the collection of pocket knives that have been confiscated by the TSA.
"This is my fifth or sixth time here," said Aladdasi. "I buy various things but mostly pocket knives. I collect them and sell them."
Aladdasi said that he expects to spend around $150 per box of pocket knives, and that each box contains about 50 knives.
"Half of them are in bad shape already. I throw those ones together in a bag and sell them online for cheap," he said. "But the others I sell individually on eBay, Amazon and at flea markets, and the really nice ones I keep for myself, for my collection."
Despite the auction's attempt to market itself to business owners, many people arrived to make personal purchases as well.
Maureen Lynch said she first heard about the auction through a television advertisement, and that while she had attended estate sales before, this was her first time at an auction.
"I'm here mostly to get a keyboard and monitor for my Dell computer," said Lynch of Sacramento. "But now that I'm here and there's a while before they get to those, I'm also looking at the bikes and the jewelry."
Lynch said that she was going to "play it by ear" and was hoping to pay less than $100 for the monitor and keyboard combined.
"I'm just trying this out. If I can't get (the monitor and keyboard) together for less than $100, I'll probably just end up going to a real store," said Lynch.
General Services said the event brings in some customers like Lynch every year.
"Some people come by just because they're curious to see what this is," said Hassan. "And then there are those who, honestly, are just trying to find a good deal, especially on computers and cellphones and other electronics."
Many participants were using smartphones during the course of the auction to check on retail prices before raising their paddles.
In addition to the usual items that appear at the auction every year, this year's event also featured a few surprises, including a package containing a snowboard and didgeridoos confiscated by the TSA.
Organizers weren't sure exactly how the didgeridoos an Australian wind instrument got to the auction, but said that particular lot received a lot of attention.
"My guess is that at some point TSA might have thought it could be used as a weapon," said Hassan. "Or maybe someone left it behind at an airport. We auction off those items as well."
Tracy Chatters, one of the bidders for the didgeridoos, said she was hoping to get one for her son. She said that her son didn't care for the snowboard that came with the package and that he just wanted the instrument. Chatters ended up being outbid for the lot.
A total of 1,018 lots were auctioned Saturday, with all the funds going to the state. According to the Department of General Services, the last auction brought in $90,000. The department won't know until Tuesday how much was raised at Saturday's auction.