Officials at the Salvation Army of Douglas County found some unique and valuable items recently when they opened up one of their red kettles to count the money people had dropped in during the holiday season.
Inside one of the kettles, they found three solid gold coins valued at more than $1,700 each, contributed by an anonymous donor.
Several days later, officials said another bell ringer received another anonymous gift: an 1880 gold Liberty Head $5 coin.
The coins will soon go up for auction at a benefit dinner the Salvation Army will hold next month.
Barry Watts, development director for the local Salvation Army, said officials at the agency have spoken to one of the individuals who donated the coins and have had them inspected by an expert in rare coins to verify that they are authentic.
Similar donations have been reported by other Salvation Army units around the country. Last week, a gold coin valued at $500 was found wrapped inside a $100 bill in a Salvation Army kettle in New York State. Earlier in the week, a bell ringer in Wichita received a $50 gold Canadian coin.
The benefit dinner and auction will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Lawrence Country Club. The event is open to the public. Admission will be $40 per person and will include a dinner prepared by club chef Frank Sheldon.
People wishing to attend are asked to RSVP by Jan. 19 by calling the Salvation Army (785) 843-4188, extension 107, or by emailing Watts at email@example.com.