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The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt

Treasure hunting has always been popular, whether it be via maps where "X marks the spot" or beach combing with high tech metal detectors. One of the best known modern modern treasure hunts takes place in Iowa and has been underway for over 30 years.

What Is The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt?

The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt is an extremely clever piece of branding and reframing that takes something usually considered dull - lost property - and makes it exciting.

The Hunt is the name given to the effort by Iowa State Treasurer Michael L Fitzgerald to reunite unclaimed property with its owner. Unlike traditional lost property the unclaimed property in this case consists not of umbrellas and hats but financial assets. Examples of these are dormant bank accounts, stock certificates and utility refunds. These can often be valuable, hence the considerable public interest in the Hunt.

The Treasure Hunt has its own website which allows people to enter their name and see if there is any property on record that might belong to them. Listings are also displayed at public events such as the State Fair and announcements are made through the media.

The Iowa Treasure Hunt has returned millions of dollars worth of lost financial property since it was established by Michael L Fitzgerald in 1983. At the time of writing (March 2014) the total returned to date stood at over $170 million.