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Gold Coin Investors Spread Holiday Cheer with Generous Donations to Salvation Army

The Salvation Army apparently made the Nice List of a few benevolent gold coin collectors this year. Bell ringers at various locations across the country have reported finding donations of valuable gold coins in the famous red kettles. The Christmas kettle campaign began only a week ago and several locations -from Texas to Indiana- have already received generous gold donations from anonymous donors.

The most prodigal single coin donation was dropped into a red kettle outside the Sam’s Club in Mishakawa, Indiana. For the third year in a row, a magnanimous donor gave a 1904 $20 gold coin valued at $1,800. The specific type of coin was not reported. It was wrapped in a piece of paper on which was written a quote from William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army: “Work as if everything depended on work and pray as if everything depended on prayer.”

Word of another notable gold coin donation comes out of Grundy County, Illinois. A mystery donor left three ½ oz. coins with an estimated total value of $2,600 in a red kettle at a Walmart in the town of Morris. Here again, the donation has become something to expect in recent years.

Denise Gaska is the director of Grundy County’s We Care, the organization that coordinates kettle volunteers in the area. She says the coins always come in the same kind of plastic wrap and a dollar bill, and have historically been donated on the first Monday of the Christmas kettle season, leading her to believe that it is the same donor each year.

“They must be the biggest kind-hearted person,” says Gaska, “that’s why I’d like to know who they are.”

Other smaller gold donations have been reported elsewhere. A 1/10 oz. South African Krugerrand valued at $175 was donated in Johnson County, Iowa, where the gifting of a gold coin is also a tradition, now in its fifth year. Although the donor remains anonymous, “We’ve got somebody in our mind that we think does it,” says Lia Pontarelli, director of development and communications for the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army in Houston, Texas has also reported its first gold coin donation of the year, which ended up being a great morale booster for the volunteers, as the season got off to a slow start this year. Also wrapped in a dollar bill, the coin came with a note that read, “A child is born, Jesus! Merry Christmas!”

Also celebrating the first gold coin of the season are the Quad Cities that straddle the border between Iowa and Illinois. Locals claim that it was here in the Quad Cities where the gold coin gifting tradition began, despite Crystal Lake, IL beating them to the punch on Wikipedia. The ¼ oz. American Gold Eagle was found in a kettle outside of Bettendorf, Iowa’s Shnuck’s Market.

The Salvation Army is extremely grateful for the donations which are used locally to provide food and shelter for the homeless who would otherwise have nowhere else to turn. Since the trend of donating gold began, the donations haven’t been limited to coins, although they do make up the majority of precious metal contributions. Other rare, non-gold coins have also been donated, as well as gold bullion and jewelry.

While the donors’ identities may remain secret, the impact of their offerings can be seen in the charitable works of the volunteers at the Salvation Army. If these tales of unselfish munificence have put you in the holiday spirit of giving, there are many ways to donate to the Salvation Army. And, don’t worry if you don’t have any spare gold lying around the house. All kinds of donations are welcome.

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