Security screeners at U.S. airports collect items surrendered by travelers, such as pocketknives, files, nail clippers, lighters and, for some reason, a purple sombrero. The federal government donates the items, and states then turn around and sell them in online auctions. For Sale 200 pocketknives, 50 lbs. of miscellaneous kitchen utensils, 50 lbs. of steel scissors, 40 lbs. of nail clippers, 35 lbs. of plastic-handled scissors, corkscrew bottle openers and one purple sombrero. The Sellers Transportation Security Administration, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington, among other states. The Location The Internet. Most notably, eBay. How It Works States post photos, descriptions and any other related product details on auction websites, and interested parties bid on the items. Price Auctions start as low as $0.99, and buyers have paid more than $270 for 50 Victorinox Swiss Army pocketknives. The sombrero went for around $67.