Costly Mistake or Generous Gift?

Valuable gold coin left in Salvation Army kettle

By Tonya LaFleur
|  Friday, Dec 11, 2009  |  Updated 8:31 PM EDT
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Costly Mistake or Generous Gift?

Getty Images/Tim Boyle

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Searching our pockets as we hurry in and out of stores this holiday season. It’s easy to not to notice how much we push into the bell ringer’s buckets.

This week, the Salvation Army discovered a coin worth about $1,100 at a donation kettle in downtown Annapolis, Md., according to a report by HometownAnnapolis.com.
 
The $50 Canadian piece is made from one ounce of pure gold. Coin collectors know it as the “gold maple leaf.”
 
A coin collector might be feverishly pulling their hair out right now, trying to figure out what happened to that valuable piece. Or maybe that donor’s intentions were as pure as the gold that slipped from his fingers. After all, ‘tis the season of generous giving. Even the thriftiest of penny-pinchers can be moved by the smells and sounds that buzz around us in these final days before Christmas.
 
Money from the gold coin likely will be put into Salvation Army programs in the Annapolis area, Capt. Richard New told HometownAnnapolis.com, translating into fewer hunger families this holiday season.
 
It comes at a good time. The slumping economy has taken a toll on charity donations across the country. 
 
Annapolis almost missed its golden opportunity.
 
New told HometownAnnapolis.com that it nearly went through the coin counter as a dollar coin.
 
While a valuable coin is a rare find in a red kettle, it has happened before. New said he knows of five times over the past seven years, but this is the first time anyone can remember it happening in the Annapolis area.
 
Mistake or gift, the donor’s identity will likely never be known.

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