top of page
U.S. Marshals Logo with Flag Background
U.S. Postal Inspection Service Logo

U.S. Postal Inspection Service Auctions

U.S. Postal Inspection Service seized vehicle and personal property auctions conducted across the nation.

Public Online Auction in Houston, TX ends 5/21/2024 1 PM ET


USPIS Logo.png

The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is renowned not only for its role in enforcing the laws that defend the nation's mail system from illegal or dangerous use but also for its intriguing history of auctions. These auctions, often filled with items from lost, abandoned, or evidence-based forfeitures, provide a unique peek into the postal system's underbelly.

The Role of the USPIS in Law Enforcement

Before diving into the auction specifics, it’s essential to understand the broader role of the USPIS. Established in 1775, the USPIS is one of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. It is tasked with safeguarding the postal system against fraud, theft, and other offenses. This protective duty extends beyond merely catching criminals; it involves managing the consequences of crime, which often includes handling undeliverable mail and items confiscated during investigations.

Possible Reasons for Seizure

Over the years, USPIS has been instrumental in intercepting illegal shipments. The USPIS seizes items for several reasons, primarily related to violations of U.S. federal laws governing mail security and integrity. Here are the primary reasons why items might be seized: 

  1. Illegal Substances: The shipment of narcotics, controlled substances, and other illegal drugs through the mail is a common reason for seizure.

  2. Prohibited Items: Certain items are prohibited from being shipped via mail, including explosives, live animals, perishable items not properly packaged, and hazardous materials.

  3. Counterfeit Goods: The distribution of counterfeit or pirated items, including fake designer clothing, unauthorized copies of software, and counterfeit currency.

  4. Mail Fraud: This includes any scheme to defraud others using the mail system. Typical examples include fraudulent lotteries, phishing scams, and fraudulent merchandise sales.

  5. Obscene or Sexually Explicit Materials: The shipment of obscene materials, including child pornography, is illegal and subject to strict enforcement.

  6. Weapons: Shipping firearms, ammunition, and other weapons through the mail can lead to seizures unless properly handled according to specific regulations.

  7. Financial Crimes: This includes money laundering or the shipment of large sums of money obtained through illegal activities.

  8. Intellectual Property Violations: Shipping items that violate copyright or trademark laws, including unauthorized DVDs, CDs, and other copyrighted materials.

  9. Endangered Species: Shipping parts or products made from endangered species, which violates international and national wildlife preservation laws.

  10. Cultural Artifacts and National Treasures: The illegal shipment of stolen artifacts or items of significant cultural value can lead to seizure.


These reasons are guided by various federal laws, including those pertaining to drug enforcement, homeland security, consumer protection, and others. The USPIS works closely with other federal agencies to enforce these laws.

The Auction Process: Turning Seizures into Revenue

After the seizure process, items that are no longer needed as evidence and are not illegal to own are sold at public auctions by Apple Auctioneering Co. These auctions serve multiple purposes: they return value to the postal service and the public, help deter crime, and provide an avenue for the public to purchase unique items. The auction process is meticulously managed to ensure fairness and transparency. Interested buyers can participate in these auctions, which may include everything from electronics and jewelry seized in mail fraud schemes to vehicles used in illegal activities.

The Impact on Communities

The work of the USPIS, especially through its seizures and auctions, has a profound impact on communities across the country. By intercepting illegal goods and returning them to the lawful economy through auctions, the USPIS helps maintain public trust in the postal system and supports community safety.

The United States Postal Inspection Service plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and reliability of the mail system. Its efforts in seizing illegal items and conducting auctions are vital in deterring crime and protecting the public. These activities not only showcase the agency's dedication to law enforcement but also contribute significantly to its mission of safeguarding America's postal system from misuse.

This exploration into the history and operational efforts of the USPIS provides insight into the importance of the agency's role within federal law enforcement and its impact on society at large.

Stamps - Copy.jpg

How to register:

  1. Select the auction you wish to participate in.

  2. In the menu bar, create an account by clicking "Login / New Bidder" or by clicking "Register to Bid" button. Click the "New Bidder? Click Here" button. Enter your email address when prompted. A new window will pop up instructing you to complete your account information. The username and password that is created will be utilized for all future online auctions. Important: The information provided when setting up the bidder account will be the information automatically assigned on the title work.

  3. Once your account has been created select the auction that you wish to participate in by clicking on the title of the auction or by clicking the "View Catalog" button. Click on the "Register to Bid" button. Enter your user name and password then accept the Terms & Conditions. You are now ready to place your online bids. 

How to place a bid:

  1. Once registered, select the lot you wish to place a bid on. You may click the "Bid (amount here)" button for a one time bid, or enter your "Maximum Auto Bid" by selecting the lot and physically typing in the highest you are willing to bid for that item. 

  2. Technical bidding details to understand and consider: 

  3. Soft Close: All lots end with a "Soft Close." A "Soft Close" means that if any bid is placed within the last three (3) minutes of the close of the Auction, the bid will automatically extend the closing time an additional three (3) minutes. Example: If a bid is placed at two (2) minutes before close, it will extend the closing time to five (5) minutes. This feature protects Bidders from being outbid without the opportunity to be notified, and therefore allows a Bidder to place another bid before the close of the Auction.

  4. Placing a "Maximum Auto Bid": Please be aware that when placing your "Maximum Bid", the website will bid on the Bidder's behalf at the preset bid increment until the Bidder’s "Maximum bid" is exceeded. At that point, the Bidder will be notified that they have been outbid (if that option is selected when registering). High Bidder will only pay one increment more than the competing Bidder. Please watch the Auction’s closing time stop-clock to determine exactly when the lot will close.

"I've placed a bid, but it says Pending." Now what?

Pending Bids are bids that are placed that are not immediately accepted or put into effect by the Auction Company. Typical reasons for pending bids are as follows:

  • First-Time Bidder: New accounts or first-time bidders that have never participated in our auctions will be thoroughly analyzed and vetted. 

  • Bidder Reputation: We are part of a nationwide network of auctioneers that utilize the Hibid bidding platform. Hibid has developed a rating system for Bidders to protect auctioneers. Bidders accrue points placing bids and registering for auctions. Any time a Bidder is permanently declined by an auctioneer, the bidder loses 20 points. If a bidder has a negative score, he or she may not be able to bid with other auctioneers on the Hibid platform.

  • Dealer Only Salvage Auctions: Additional bidding qualifications on assets offered with salvage/ dismantler notations must be met prior to the auction closing. Salvage dealers that wish to bid on these assets must submit a current copy of their State issued Salvage Dealer license for review. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT LICENSE. Once approved, the Auction Company will update the Bidder's account and any bids that are Pending will be approved/ accepted. This must take place prior to the auction closing. These bidding privileges will remain in effect until the expiration date on the license. It is the Bidder's responsibility to resubmit a new license upon renewal to avoid Pending bids.

  • Asset Requires a Deposit: When a deposit is required, see Section (6) of the Terms & Conditions for step-by-step deposit instructions.


You've won! What to expect once the auction closes:

  1. Once all items in the auction close, email notifications will be sent (from to all participating bidders with the final results. For each lot the bidder bids on it will list "successful" or "outbid." The auction company will be seeking final approval from the U.S. Treasury on all lots at this time. 

  2. Once approval is received, high bidders will receive an email (from with payment instructions and our bank account information (options: wire, bank deposit, or cashier's check overnight). Please check your email (and junk mail) periodically after receiving this notice. Payment must be RECEIVED within 48 hours of acceptance.

  3. Once payment is received, the auction company will execute the title documents and email them to the buyers via DocuSign for electronic signature. 

  4. Once documents are signed by the buyer, Property Release documents will be emailed to the buyer as well as the storage vendor.

  5. Once Property Release email received,  buyer must immediately contact storage vendor to arrange property removal. 

  6. Original title documents will be mailed to buyers. Once originals title documents received, originals need to be processed at local DMV. 

Please note: these assets will remain in the name of the defendant in which they were seized, until the titles are processed with the state. It is very important that the titles be transferred with your local tax office immediately upon receipt.  

bottom of page