$1,600 gold coin kettle
$1,600 gold coin kettle, Rare gold coin -- worth $1,600 -- shows up in Salvation Army kettle in downtown Portland. The red Salvation Army kettle wasn't very heavy when workers opened it up to count the change collected this afternoon.
But quality quickly made up for quantity when they spotted a gold Krugerrand — worth about $1,600 — sitting on top.
"It's a wonderful feeling," said Lt. Ray Dihle of the Salvation Army Portland Tabernacle. "To get a gold piece, to get basically a $1,600 donation, means more food boxes, more assistance, more prescription or toys or whatever people need."
This Krugerrand was donated in front of the Macy's at 621 S.W. 5th Ave., but the South African coins have turned up inside Salvation Army kettles across the United States this week. One was dropped in a kettle near Gettysburg, Pa., on Wednesday; another showed up the same day at an Illinois mall.
But it's not the first time the coin has appeared in the City of Roses. Dihle said someone donated a Krugerrand in 2009, and a half-ounce Australian gold nugget made its way into a kettle last year.
All three were donated in Downtown Portland, Dihle said, usually around Dec. 16. He doesn't know if it's the work of the same Secret Santa, but he has his suspicions.
"A serial giver," he joked.
For now, the coin is tucked away in a safe place. Salvation Army workers will sell it at a local coin shop and put the profits with the rest of the donations gathered during its red kettle campaign, Dihle said. Though amounts vary, he said the 40-50 kettles in Portland pull in about $5,000 per day on average.