TAMPA — The wedding bands, the defibrillator, the crutches stuffed in boxes, forgotten.
They raise a lot of questions.
The organizers of the Tampa International Airport lost and found auction today asked some as they paced the aisles.
How'd those dogs get on the plane with no carrier? How many tears were spilled over the lost gold and diamonds? And what miraculous healing allowed someone to forget a wheelchair?
The hundreds of buyers bidding today probably won't care for the answers, they predict. Most will only have one question: How much?
The auction, at a Delta hangar on West Shore Boulevard south of Hillsborough Avenue, will open to buyers for viewing at 8 a.m. Bidding begins at 9:30. Organizers say none of the items will require a minimum bid, and for good reason — what price do you put on an old snow shovel, or someone else's high school ring, or a translucent horse with colored innards?
Most of the 10,000 items are bundled in lots. If you want one medical item — that leopard-print cane, perhaps? — you'll have to settle for 100. Thousands of belts and old shoes, lost luggage still packed and a pallet of baby strollers will be bagged, boxed and up for grabs.
Other items, like a leather vest with motorcycle pins or a $3,500 gold Rolex, will be sold individually.
The last auction, in November 2007, netted the airport $45,068. What do organizers expect all these random goods will get them this year?
"It's hard to say," said Mitchell Thrower, a deputy director at TIA. "But we'll sell everything."
Drew Harwell can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3386.