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Thursday, March 6, 2014 12:01 am

SHOPPING STATE SURPLUS

Need a box of Swiss Army knives? How about an old cop car, a cabinet to store acids, or a spectrophotometer to do whatever those things do? (We had to look it up. It involves measuring light.) The State of Illinois has all that and more – a lot more – in a warehouse at Laurel and 10 ½ Street. The goods in the warehouse are available for purchase on the state’s surplus auction website. Similar to eBay, the iBid site has brought in $10 million for the state since 2003. Starting March 17, the state will be auctioning off 550 pieces of heavy machinery previously used by the Illinois Department of Transportation. They’ll have off-road equipment, heavy trucks, tractors and more, in addition to their usual fare, like boxes of jewelry, shelving units, furniture, tools, used cars and obscure laboratory equipment. (If you’re looking for a gas chromatograph machine or a nitrogen analyzer, now is your chance.) Prices are usually well below market value, but be prepared to fend off buyers who like to break up and resell large lots. The website is ibid.illinois.gov.

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