(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2)(a), the department after the receipt of unclaimed property shall sell it to the highest bidder at public sale on the Internet or at a specified physical location wherever in the judgment of the department the most favorable market for the property involved exists. The department may decline the highest bid and reoffer the property for sale if in the judgment of the department the bid is insufficient. The department shall have the discretion to withhold from sale any unclaimed property that the department deems to be of benefit to the people of the state. If in the judgment of the department the probable cost of sale exceeds the value of the property, it need not be offered for sale and may be disposed of as the department determines appropriate. Any sale at a specified physical location held under this section must be preceded by a single publication of notice, at least 3 weeks in advance of sale, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the property is to be sold. The department shall proportionately deduct auction fees, preparation costs, and expenses from the amount posted to the owner’s account when safe-deposit box contents are sold. No action or proceeding may be maintained against the department for or on account of any decision to decline the highest bid or withhold any unclaimed property from sale.
(2)(a) Securities listed on an established stock exchange must be sold at prices prevailing at the time of sale on the exchange. Other securities may be sold over the counter at prices prevailing at the time of sale or by any other method the department deems advisable. The department may authorize the agent or broker acting on behalf of the department to deduct fees from the proceeds of these sales at a rate agreed upon in advance by the agent or broker and the department. The department shall reimburse owners’ accounts for these brokerage fees from the State School Fund unless the securities are sold at the owner’s request.
(b) Unless the department deems it to be in the public interest to do otherwise, all securities presumed unclaimed and delivered to the department may be sold upon receipt. Any person making a claim pursuant to this chapter is entitled to receive either the securities delivered to the department by the holder, if they still remain in the hands of the department, or the proceeds received from sale, but no person has any claim under this chapter against the state, the holder, any transfer agent, any registrar, or any other person acting for or on behalf of a holder for any appreciation in the value of the property occurring after delivery by the holder to the state.
(c) Certificates for unclaimed stock or other equity interest of business associations that cannot be canceled and registered in the department’s name or that cannot be readily liquidated and converted into the currency of the United States may be sold for the value of the certificate, if any, in accordance with subsection (1) or may be destroyed in accordance with s. 717.128.
(3) The purchaser of property at any sale conducted by the department pursuant to this chapter is entitled to ownership of the property purchased free from all claims of the owner or previous holder thereof and of all persons claiming through or under them. The department shall execute all documents necessary to complete the transfer of ownership.
(4) The sale of unclaimed tangible personal property is not subject to tax under chapter 212 when such property is sold by or on behalf of the department pursuant to this section.