U.S. Government Surplus Sales

No, that’s not eBay — it’s your Uncle Sam

The federal government is refining ways to make it easier to sell its surplus property to bargain-hunters on the Internet

By Melissa Harris
Sun Reporter
Originally published November 6, 2005

“Want to buy a helicopter? Or one of 288 diamonds seized from a crooked insurance tycoon? A rickety surgical table gathering dust at Fort Meade? Or even a strip club in Fells Point?

At one time or another, all of these items have had one thing in common: Uncle Sam sold them on the Internet, an up-to-date way for the government to unload seized or surplus property.

…This fall, the federal government finished improvements to its Internet sales portal (firstgov.gov/shopping/shopping), which directs users to more than 100 Web sites hawking items to the public – from archived American folk music recordings to Lamborghinis once driven by drug lords.

From the main page, a user who clicks on “Souvenirs,” then “Unusual Items,” can choose from a list that includes “Nixon Watergate Records” at the National Archives and “Collectible Coins” from the U.S. Mint.”

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