London Heathrow Airport Baggage Lost and Found Auctions
Unclaimed baggage and lost and found items from London's Heathrow Airport are auctioned off at R F Greasbys in Tooting, South London. The proceeds are supposed to be donated to charity, though Heathrow has never provided any evidence as to which charities have benefited.
A BBC interview uncovered some interesting information about the auctions, that make the London Baggage Auctions different than those in most of the U.S. The article claims, "Regulars at Greasby's said the clothes inside the cases were usually mixed up a little to provide a balance of ages and gender in each case.
In the U. S, the luggage is usually sold at auctions held by one or more government entities, which in theory, add some level of security to the entire auction process, thereby reducing the possibility of Cherry Picking. Cherry Pickers tend to leave just enough expensive goodies in the lots that some buyers will be happy and return. While theft of items within the luggage is possible, even in a secure government building, there have many tales of great finds within the auctioned goods.
In the salvage merchandise industry, leaving containers, pallets, boxes and crates untouched is highly desirable. Reputable salvage dealers wrap the salvage units with straps or plastic wrap to keep the merchandise in the originally received condition, to avoid being labeled, "Cherry Pickers". Cherry picking is the process of rummaging through salvage merchandise to take out any really high value merchandise before reselling the lots.
Still, the complaints are never ending from salvage buyers who say all they got in salvage lots was garbage, nothing of value. While that is always the risk, one never really knows if a lot has been Cherry Picked or not. The mystery of finding valuables is what leads people to gamble and bid on salvage merchandise. Knowing the seller is reputable and doesn't go through the merchandise is essential to the potential buyers trust.
The article further states that some suitcases purchased had information about the owner inside the cases, so they never should have gone to auction. This lead to speculation that no real effort was made to locate the owners of all bags. This process in London is severely flawed, bid accordingly.
The luggage sold at Greasbys doesn't include a VAT tax which is added in addition to the bid price. They allow several days for the items won to be picked up.
The main auctioneers for London airport baggage auctions are:
Greasbys, sells on luggage from various London airports every other Tuesday.
Wellers, which has branches in Chertsey and Guildford, sells bags, clothes, and small electronics from London airports every Tuesday.
Bristol Commercial Valuers & Auctioneers sells lost property left at airports in the South West,
Hertfordshire Auctions - Police and Airport auctions