Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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December 12, 2013

Gold coin found in Salvation Army kettle

South African Krugerrand donation now a five-year tradition in Kokomo.

It’s happened again.

For the fifth straight year, an anonymous person dropped a valuable South African Krugerrand gold coin into a Salvation Army red kettle in Kokomo.

Salvation Army Capt. Dale Brandenburg said they found the coin last week, and sold it for $1,220.

“A great big thank you to whoever did this,” he said. “If we could find the person, we’d tell them how much we appreciate this and how much this helps further our work here in Howard County.”

Brandenburg said a South African Krugerrand is made from some of the purest gold in the world, and is highly sought after by collectors. This year’s coin was minted in 1978.

But with the price of gold down this year, he said the coin sold for around $400 less than last year.

Still, Brandenburg said it’s an amazing contribution, especially since the group is $50,000 away from meeting its $82,500 fundraising goal.

“If we didn’t receive that coin, we’d be down another $1,200, so it was a really big help,” he said. “It’s a great donation. We never count on getting it, so it’s always exciting to open up the kettle and see it laying there on the bottom.”

When a volunteer found the coin, Brandenburg said everyone gathered around the kettle to see it shining inside.

“It builds a lot of excitement around here,” he said. “It keeps all of us motivated at the Salvation Army.”

He said money from the coin will buy three weeks of groceries for the about 1,000 people the group feeds every month.

Donating South African Krugerrands during the Salvation Army’s annaul Red Kettle Campaign has become something of a Christmas tradition across the U.S.

Last year, the coins turned up in red kettles in places like Atlanta, Ga., and Seattle, Wash.

Brandenburg said he’s glad other cities besides Kokomo get to share in the excitement of finding a gold coin in the kettle.

“Thank goodness it’s not something that just happens in Kokomo,” he said.

Besides the Krugerrand coin, someone also donated a 1-ounce silver coin that sold for $20.

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