by: Richard Elliot Updated:ATLANTA —
The Salvation Army got a Christmas miracle, of sorts, when it found a gold coin in one of its red donation kettles Friday. They estimate the South African Krugerrand is worth about $1700.
"The value of the Krugerrand far exceeds the value of the entire pot for that day," said Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Division Commander Major Todd Hawks.
Hawks said an anonymous donor called him to say he planned to drop the gold coin in a red kettle outside Perimeter Mall Friday. He didn't want his name released, but he said his family has ties back to the first days of the Salvation Army in London, England. He hoped to encourage others to donate, as well.
Still, Hawks said he was surprised to see the big, gold coin inside the kettle.
"In the midst of all of the silver and the copper and the green, there's this one large, very flashy, very bright Krugerrand," said Hawks. "It's as big as a dollar piece. I've never seen a Krugerrand before, so this is the first time for me."
Hawks said the Metro Atlanta Salvation Army hasn't reached its goal of $2.1-million in donations, but they are close and actually tracking ahead of this time last year. He believes the Krugerrand, which is now locked up in the office's safe, will help them serve those in need.
"We're absolutely going to be able to serve a number of boys and girls and families throughout the community," said Hawks. "And I want to thank our anonymous donor for his generousity."