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Salvation Army Gold Coin Donations Raise the Bar

The tradition of dropping gold coins into the Salvation Army’s red donation buckets started in Chicago over 25 years ago and is still going strong, according to reports coming from Lake County, Illinois. The county has reportedly received at least 9 gold coins this holiday season and there are still three weeks left in 2013.

The gold coin donations range from a 1/10th ounce gold American Eagle coin to a PCGS-certified St. Gaudens gold coin. Most of the gold coins are one-ounce gold bullion coins that are currently worth about $1250 each, and the generous individuals who donate their golden tokens of appreciation usually do so by wrapping the coin within a dollar bill.

Gold coins started appearing in the red buckets the Salvation Army stations outside of stores, and many take the gold coins as motivation to give as much as possible. Giving a one-ounce gold coin means monetarily more now than it did 25 years ago, when gold was just a few hundred dollars per ounce, but Salvation Army captains say the coins are appreciated whether an ounce of gold is worth $13 or $1300.

Technically, since the gold spot price is based on the dollar’s value a donation of a one-ounce gold coin means about the same today as it did in 1988. The Salvation Army doesn’t isn’t big into inflationary stats, however; gold coin donations are sold at market value and the proceeds are used to fund the organization’s year-round community assistance programs. At least 400 gold coins have been donated over the last 25 years and if the giving nature of Americans keeps up there will probably be many more gold coin donations in the future.

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