Collector’s coin found in Salvation Army red kettle

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 27, 2017

 On Dec. 19, an  anonymous person placed a 1981  South African gold  Krugerrand coin worth approximately $1,400 into the Salvation  Army’s red kettle at the Kroger store located at 20422 Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods.

On Dec. 19, an anonymous person placed a 1981 South African gold Krugerrand coin worth approximately $1,400 into the Salvation Army’s red kettle at the Kroger store located at 20422 Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods.

Photo provided by the Salvation Army

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Someone with a heart of gold spread holiday cheer this Christmas season.

On Dec. 19, an anonymous person placed a 1981 South African gold Krugerrand coin into the Salvation Army’s red kettle at the Kroger store located at 20422 Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods.  

The unknown Santa Claus donated a collector’s coin worth approximately $1,400, which gave a large boost to the Salvation Army’s annual red kettle campaign. The campaign raises money so the nonprofit organization can provide food, toys and clothing to needy families during the Christmas season.

Capt. Kelsie Moreno, of the Salvation Army’s Connor Creek Corps  Community Center in Detroit, said the gold coin weighed 1 ounce. 

“The value of it is the current price of gold,” she said. “It’s a bit of a collector’s item, so it’s a little more than the regular price of gold. This is the first (gold coin) Connor Creek has received in the kettle.”

The Connor Creek Corps Community Center serves residents on the east side of Detroit, the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods.

The Krugerrand coin was a gift for the Salvation Army, especially since a red kettle from the same Kroger store was reported stolen Nov. 21. A volunteer had been posted at the red kettle site since 10:30 a.m. that day. She stepped away from the container around 4:30 p.m. to use the restroom, and that was when the bucket was taken.

Grosse Pointe Woods Public Safety Director John Kosanke said there are no updates in the investigation regarding the missing red kettle. 

“I think that has garnered some extra attention,” Moreno said. “A lot of people have wanted to volunteer at that location. We’re really grateful for the wonderful support from the Grosse Pointe community this Christmas, especially after the theft of the red kettle.”

Three other coins were found in metro Detroit red kettles within the past month. A 1980 gold Krugerrand was found in St. Clair Shores, along with another coin of the same year dropped in a red kettle in Farmington. In addition, a 1975 gold Engelhard Prospector was anonymously donated in Roseville. According to the Salvation Army, the four coins are worth approximately $4,100 collectively. The identification of the donor or donors remains a mystery.

“(The coins) didn’t come with a note. We don’t know who did it,” Moreno said. “That’s the magic of Christmas coming out.” 

According to Capt. Andrew Shiels, the Warren corps officer for the Salvation Army, two of the coins were received on the same night. Shiels said it was a great moment when they discovered the first gold coin from St. Clair Shores. 

“All of a sudden, somebody said, ‘Hey, this dollar is really heavy,’” he said. “They had wrapped the gold coin in a dollar (bill), so (the counter) couldn’t understand why the green dollar was so heavy. The room was really, really excited.

“It was not probably more than five to 10 minutes later, someone else said something about a gold coin. ... I think we have another one and, sure enough, they were opening another bucket and they found another gold coin.”

The Salvation Army’s red kettles were at storefronts until Dec. 23. Donations also were welcome online at www.salmich.org or by texting SALMICH to 41444. 

This year’s goal was to raise $7.85 million for the red kettle campaign. Of that, the goal was to provide $90,000 to the Connor Creek Corps Community Center.

Staff Writer Kristyne E. Demske contributed to this report.

Call Staff Writer Maria Allard at (586) 498-1045.