NewsLocal News


Salvation Army of Tallahassee receives rare donation of South African gold coin

Posted at 6:23 PM, Dec 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-27 18:23:09-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Salvation Army's Red Kettles are a Christmas season staple.

And while most of the buckets are filled with quarters and dimes, this year, a rare coin worth more than $1,000 made its way into the red kettle.

Bells ringing and coins jingling, it's the sounds of the season of giving.

"This year we were blessed to receive one of the most unique and wonderful donations into one of our Red Kettles," said Lt. Ryan Meo, Executive Director of the Salvation Army of Tallahassee.

On the very last day to drop a donation into a Salvation Army red kettle, someone dropped off a 1980 South African Gold Krugerrand.

"When I found this coin and I started to think about the person who donated it, I thought about the Christmas Story, about the Three Wisemen coming from afar bringing their gifts," said Meo. "Their names were never recorded in history, but their generosity was."

The Salvation Army says this is the first time they've received a rare gold coin like this one, but it's not the first time someone has dropped something unique into a red kettle.

"We find weddings rings believe it or not. Some are donated on purpose in memory of love ones who have passed away," said Lt. Meo.

But there are also some donated by accident.

"People call frantically saying, 'Have you seen a wedding ring in one of your kettles,'" said Lt. Meo.

This year's rare coin donation is estimated to be worth $1,500 and the Salvation Army has already decided how that money will be spent.

"We are going to turn this gold coin into a life changing opportunity, a camping experience for up to 4 kids from this community," said Lt. Meo. "This could provide hundreds of meals to folks of working poor and homeless in this community amongst other things. We are going to be a good steward of this gift."

The Salvation Army has also received a gold tooth which was melted down, along with a yearly donation of silver quarters dating back to the 19th century, that they believe are from the same donor.