In the days of increasing state budget shortfalls, some states have decided to seize assets in people's safe deposit boxes. Like this story:
Carla Ruff's Safe Deposit Box
Somebody got a good deal, because the government figured that her box was unclaimed and the owner was unknown... even though she still had an account with the bank and the safe deposit box was paid for. They decided to sell off her great-grandmother's pearls for $1800, even though they were worth more than $82,000. Good deal for whoever bought them at auction.
Perhaps the best place for your precious valuables is in your mattress nowadays. The government feels free to take anything from you whenever it feels that it wants to.
No wonder living "off the grid" is becoming more popular.