By Sheena Barnett | NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – In a sea of copper, silver and faded green, the large, bright gold coin stood out.
On Christmas Eve, Salvation Army workers in Tupelo found a South African gold coin, called a Krugerrand, had been slipped into one of their Red Kettles.
“We brought the kettles in on Christmas Eve, and we were counting them, and someone said, ‘Well, look-a here,” said Maj. Sue Dorman.
No one knows who donated the 1983 coin.
Dorman said it came from the kettle at the West Main Street Walmart’s merchandise door, and it was donated between 9 a.m. and noon on Christmas Eve. The kettles are counted each night, and Christmas Eve was the last day for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign.
Dorman’s not sure on the coin’s value. A quick search for Krugerrands on ebay places the value at about $1,700, and Dorman said she suspects the value may be near that amount. She has contacted Salvation Army’s main offices to learn how much the coin is worth and what to do with it.
While Krugerrands have shown up in Salvation Army Red Kettles across the country, it is the first time a gold coin of any kind has been found in a Red Kettle in Tupelo, she said.
In addition to the Krugerrand, donations have been good this year, Dorman said.
“We’ve had a good year with our kettles. I don’t have exact amounts, but I’d say we were about where we were last year or maybe above that,” she said. “Our community has really come out and helped.”
A Krugerrand was in a kettle in Colorado, while various gold coins have been donated to kettles in Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin and Hawaii.
Most of these gold coin donations have happened earlier in the Red Kettle season, which begins just before Thanksgiving.
“But ours happened right there, on Christmas Eve,” Dorman said. “We are just ecstatic.”