Golden Christmas: Salvation Army kettle in Hailey takes in rare coin

2009-12-14T01:00:00Z Golden Christmas: Salvation Army kettle in Hailey takes in rare coinBy Karen Bossick - Times-News correspondent Twin Falls Times-News

Santa appears to be flush with coins this year. Or maybe he’s just digging into his coin collection in light of these tough economic times.

At any rate, the Senior Connection in Hailey is the lucky recipient of a coin that appeared on its doorstep Friday morning that’s worth between $800 and $1,500.

David Stone, a volunteer with the senior center, found what he thought was a gold Sacajawea dollar wrapped in a small plastic bag in the snow by the door Friday while he was checking on snow removal.

On closer examination, he and the senior center’s executive director Kim Coonis realized it was not a Sacajawea coin but rather a 1910 solid gold $10 Indian coin. Two coin collectors have confirmed that it is “very rare.”

The surprise mirrors what’s been happening across the country, noted Coonis.

A Salvation Army bell ringer in Clarksville, Tenn., found a valuable gold coin valued at $1,100 in one of the Army’s red kettles on Friday. Others have shown up in donation kettles in Denver, Seattle and Illinois.

Denver has had three: a rare 1902 $20 Liberty gold coin, a 1904 $20 Liberty Gold Piece and a 1979 South African Krugerrand. The first two coins were wrapped in plastic covering.

“It’s our little Christmas miracle,” said Barbara Espedal, the activities coordinator at the center.

“I think it’s cool,” said Stone, who works at Sun Valley Auto Club. “It could have gotten missed very easily. It just happened to catch my eye.”

Coonis said she doesn’t care how the donations come in. She’s just glad when they do. And, she added, she’s grateful for a volunteer who shared the coin with her, rather than pocketing it.

“This is definitely the most interesting donation we’ve ever had,” Coonis said. “We would like to thank our silent angel. We’ll sell the coin to help us pay for senior care. What a wonderful gesture in these tough economic times as we try to care for more and more seniors!”

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