Valuable gold coin found in Jefferson City Salvation Army red kettle

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JEFFERSON CITY - Someone in Jefferson City dropped a rare gold coin in one of the Salvation Army's Red Kettles, Monday. 

Lt. Christopher White, Corps Officer with the Salvation Army, says this is the first time it has ever happened in Jefferson City, at least since the mid-1970s.

"They told me that there was something really special in one of the buckets and I couldn't quite believe it when I saw it," he said. 

Charles Clark was the volunteer who received the donation at Sam's Club. He has been ringing bells with the Salvation Army for five years. 

"I was kind of shocked because I've never had anybody do this, I have never had anybody drop that kind of coin in my kettle," he said. 

The coin is an uncirculated 1998 American Eagle One ounce Gold Proof coin. It is currently valued at around $1,300. 

"What I'm telling my bell ringers and my volunteers is that it's a real sign of approval," White said. "It's a great sign of support for the Salvation Army and for the work that we do here, and also our Christmas campaign this year."

White said they plan to sell the coin at the end of the bell ringing season, which goes until January. 

"Salvation Army's red kettles money goes not just to our Christmas services like our toy shop, our Angel Tree program but to our services that we fund throughout the year," he said. "We have a 31-bed shelter here in town, a food pantry, utility, rental assistance program and any others as well."

Due to the continued cold weather, kettles are currently a little below this point last year. The current fundraising total stands at $96,144 or 33% of the goal compared to $99,213 in 2017.

White said they have not learned who is the donor of the coin. 

"Whoever they are, thank you so much," he said. "We are grateful for all the donations that have come in this Christmas time."

As for Clark, he said he's hopeful for another gold coin donation. 

"It might happen again, who knows," he said. "I still plan to ring bells for Salvation Army, next year and years to come."