EVERETT — It looked like a gold coin on the outside. And it was not chocolate on the inside.
Someone anonymously dropped a 1-ounce, 22-karat gold Krugerrand coin into one of the Salvation Army’s red holiday collection kettles on Tuesday. The donation is worth about $800.
“It’s much better than the chewed taffy we got last week,” said Jerry Gadek, business manager for the Salvation Army of Snohomish County.
It’s not certain where in the county the coin was donated. All the kettles are taken back to the group’s Everett headquarters every day and sorted, Gadek said.
Counters separate out anything unusual, “whether it’s a lug nut or a lollipop or, in this case, a Krugerrand,” he said.
It’s the second donation of a valuable coin the Salvation Army of Snohomish County has received in three holiday seasons, Gadek said. Two years ago, a $50 U.S. Lady Liberty coin worth about $500 at the time was dropped into a donation kettle in Lynnwood. That coin — believed to be the first donation of a valuable gold coin to the Salvation Army of Snohomish County — was wrapped and taped inside a $1 bill. The bill was spotted before the kettle’s contents were combined with the others, Gadek said. The Krugerrand was loose, he said.
Krugerrand coins were first minted in South Africa in 1967, according to Northwest Territorial Mint, a private minting firm in Auburn. On one side of the coin is a likeness of Paul Kruger, an early president of South Africa and the coin’s namesake. On the other side is a springbok, an antelope native to the country. The coins come in several sizes; the 1-ounce coin is largest.
While they are legal tender in South Africa, Krugerrands have no printed face value, with their worth determined literally by their weight in gold, a local coin dealer said.
“If I were to buy it today, I’d be paying $780 for it and I’d be selling it for $805,” Dana Adkison, co-owner of a coin shop near the Everett Mall, said Thursday.
The price of gold changes constantly, Adkison said. At one point Thursday afternoon, it was at $797.10 per ounce.
Donations of valuable coins to the Salvation Army are not uncommon around the nation, Gadek said. Large donations such as this one are almost always anonymous, he said.
Afterward, someone usually contacts the organization and pays a good price for the coin, Gadek said. Two years ago, a coin dealer bought the Lady Liberty coin at market value and donated an equal amount to the Salvation Army, doubling its prize.
If no one contacts the group this time, it will sell the Krugerrand to a coin dealer, Gadek said.
The Salvation Army hopes to raise $150,000 in gross contributions this holiday season to pack food boxes for 500 families and purchase toys for 1,500 children. This will be a big help, he said.
“It blows my mind that someone could just walk up to a kettle like that and make that kind of a donation,” Gadek said.
Reporter Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.