Airlines & Airports - 8 min read

Where to Buy TSA Confiscated Items: Purchase Knives Online in Auction

Betty Nelson

Betty Nelson, Updated October 9, 2022

Disclosure: Town & Tourist may receive a commission for purchases made through links in this article, at no additional cost to you.

TSA is short for the Transportation Security Administration, the US government agency handling public traveling and other related traveling security. If you have ever made it through airport security, you must have gone through some scrutiny; full-body check, luggage check, or even had any of your items confiscated. So, where can you buy TSA seized items?

Generally, you can buy most of the TSA confiscated items on online auction sites. The state’s government is responsible for every item the TSA confiscates. Once an item is confiscated, the government decides which auction site to use in auctioning those items. Two of the government’s most frequent sites are ebay.com and govdeals.com.

No doubt most people think items confiscated by the TSA are trashed, but it is only a few of them; toiletries and liquids. Other solid items like power tools, knives, multitools, and scissors are collected by the government and put up for auction sale on sites. 

This article will discuss everything you need to know about TSA confiscated items, including TSA knife rules and most confiscated items at the airport. So let’s dive right in.

What Does the TSA Do With the Confiscated Items?

A TSA agent searches luggage at an airport. (12MP camera, NO model release, editorial only)

Confiscated items at the TSA checkpoints are handed over to the state’s government. The category your item falls into determines what happens to it. The government is in the best position to trash items like toiletries and liquid while others, such as knives, are put up for sale or public auction.

If your item is consumable, drinks, food, or alcohol, it is either trashed or consumed immediately. Most times, alcohol is dumped in the trash sites. 

However, TSA treats household items with more value and are hardly ever trashed. Knives, weapons, scissors, and other dangerous items are transferred from the airport to the TSA storage area. Here, it is stored for some time and handed to the state’s government. 

How long it stays in the storage area cannot be precisely determined. However, it could stay as long as your period of vacation. Therefore, if TSA confiscated any of your items at the airport, all hope is not lost as you can retrieve them.

Note that the TSA does not receive a profit from the sale of any confiscated item. All items are transferred to the government’s custody, and the government handles the decision on where to auction these items and the profit. 

Related Read: Can You Wear Jewelry Through Airport Security?

Can I Buy TSA Confiscated Item?

Yes, it is possible to buy a TSA confiscated item, and the decision to buy TSA confiscated items is all up to you. You don’t necessarily need to have had a seized thing before purchasing anything. 

Most of the time, these items are put up in auctions, so it is more affordable than for anyone to buy. However, some other things are displayed on sale, and if you intend to buy any, you must go directly to the websites. 

There are options for surplus sale, which are regularly held by the state so prospective buyers can easily purchase these items. If you intend to participate in a surplus sale, ensure you find all the needed details, such as; where it is likely to be held and the registration processes. 

Although not all the states require you to register before partaking in the sales, it is best to find out as most states need you to. 

Most times, states hold a combined auction for; states’ surplus, confiscated items, and items seized by law enforcement agencies. As a result, you will likely go home with many valuable things at an affordable price. 

Related Read: Can You Bring A Taser On A Plane?

Can You Retrieve Confiscated Items From the TSA?

If you had any item seized by the TSA during a scrutiny search, you might be able to retrieve these confiscated items. However, the US government follows strict rules about the disposal and sale of these items.

However, if you are still in the security section, there are possible ways to reach an agreement with the airport’s security on your items. For example, if your item is allowed into a checked bag, you can tell them you intend to put it into one. Or you can let security know you are putting it inside your car.

Otherwise, if you came with a relative or friend that isn’t traveling with you, you can say you want to hand it over to the person. Note that it’s relatively impossible to fool these officials. If your excuse is accepted, they will follow you to the exit and ensure you follow the rules. 

In addition, airports work with contractors who arrange to pick up these items and send them to the storage area, where they are transferred to government custody. Otherwise, these confiscated items are donated with the airport’s permission. 

Also, when TSA hands these items to the government, they sell the legal items at auctions. This decision is taken between the airport and the government of the state

. Therefore, you can retrieve your confiscated treasures by joining the auction sale if you had a valuable item seized during an airport’s scrutiny search.

Related Read: How Many Fluid Ounces Can You Carry On A Plane?

Where to Buy TSA Confiscated Items

TSA confiscated items are sold online or on auction sites, mainly on ebay.com and govdeals.com. The government legally accepts these sites for quickly displaying items at an affordable price. 

Here are possible places to buy TSA confiscated items;

US StateWebsite address
Alabamawww.adeca.alabama.gov
Alaskawww.publicsurplus.com/
Arizonadoa.az.gov/public-auctions (operates 3x per year), while publicsurplus.com/sms/arizona (operates online)
Arkansaswww.arstatesurplus.com
Californiawww.dgs.ca.gov/OFAM
Coloradowww.coloradoci.comColorado Public Surplus
Connecticutportal.ct.gov
Delawarewww.state.de.us/dss/surplus/index.shtml
Floridadms.myflorida.comdms.floridy.com/vehiclesFlorida Public Surplus
GeorgiaSurplusproperty.doas.georgia.gov – Online auction sales
Hawaiiauction.ehawaii.gov
Idahofsp.idaho.gov/
Illinoisibid.illinois.gov

Generally, if the TSA security seized your item, it could have been trashed or sold. There are two options for consumable items; either they are trashed or consumed immediately. 

Meanwhile, other valuable items like knives are up for auction on these online sites. These auction sites are not meant for individual items, as they usually sell in bulk. 

However, you can check out government-approved auction sites if you want to buy knives at a lower price and resell them. Here, you can buy, resell individually, and make huge profits.

To be safe, you should get more details on the TSA auction site your state uses for its sales. 

A Quick Look at TSA Knife Rules

Knives are weapons and are not considered safe to be on an airplane with passengers. Amongst other items, the TSA often confiscates knives and handed over to the government for auction sale on sites like eBay. 

In addition, if you intend to put your knife inside a checked bag, it is best if you sheath it. This sheathing makes it more convenient to carry along and eliminates the possibility of injury or harm. 

Below are the TSA knife rules;

  1. No matter the size or length, sharp objects are considered illegal items at TSA checkpoints. 
  2. Knives are not allowed on airplanes but can be packed in checked bags.
  3. All knives, regardless of size, are restricted from being carried inside passengers’ bags. 
  4. Knives going into the checked bag should be sheathed.
  5. Round-bladed or plastic knives are prohibited from carry-on bags but can be put into checked bags. 

Can You Take a Pocket Knife on the Airplane?

No, the TSA prohibits passengers from taking pocket knives on airplanes. As far as the knife comes with a blade, it is considered a threat to other passengers on board. However, disposable razor blades are not seen as potential harm and can be allowed in hand.

The TSA considers razors too tiny to pose a security threat. While checking in, the TSA officials scan your body with the x-ray machine and ensure it does not contain an illegal item like a pocket knife. To comply with the TSA rules, brands now produce knives without blades.

These multi-tools are known as “TSA Approved Knives.” Once they find you with a knife, it is confiscated. However, you are free to put your knife into a checked bag, so you can access it once the plane lands. Note that a reviewed item involves paying baggage fees.

What is the Most Confiscated Item at Airports?

Generally, there are a lot of frequently confiscated items by the TSA. This agency operates by the strict security rules guiding the agency, which fights to protect the interest of boarding passengers and airplane officials.

However, you should know the TSA items policies and rules when boarding a plane. This information frees you from unnecessary embarrassment and possibly confiscating valuable items. 

Here is a list of the most TSA confiscated items and related airports:

  1. Chainsaw (Airport; Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport)
  2. Wine Holder(Airport; Sacramento International Airport) 
  3. Fireworks; (Airport; Syracuse Hancock International Airport)
  4. Machete; (Airport; Ronald Reagan Washington International Airport;)
  5. Bear Spray; (Airport; Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport)
  6. Cleaver; (Airport; Harrisburg International Airport)
  7. Firearm Buckle; (Airport; Daniel K. Inouye International Airport)
  8. Meth Burrito (Airport; Houston William P. Hobby International Airport)
  9. Pistol (Airport; Newark Liberty International Airport)
  10. Bullets in Deodorant (Airport; Atlantic City International Airport)

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