The coin, dropped in the kettle on Dec. 14 or 15, surprised volunteers as they sorted through the donations this week.
“I wanted to make sure it was real,” said Maj. Matt Grindle, explaining he wanted to ensure the coin wasn’t just gold-plated.
A local coin dealer told The Salvation Army that the 1985 Canadian Gold Maple Leaf $50 coin, made of 1 ounce of solid gold, is worth about $1,150, Grindle said. It’s about the size of the Sacagawea dollar coin, Grindle said. The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin was first issued in 1979 and is a popular bullion coin.
Grindle said The Salvation Army will likely refrain from cashing in on the coin immediately in order to watch the market price of gold, or potentially auction it off for a higher price. The organization also may offer to sell the coin to supporters of The Salvation Army in an attempt to bring in more than market value.
Grindle said it’s not often coins of such high value are dropped into the kettles.
The kettle campaign by the Holland Salvation Army is slightly ahead of pace of last year’s effort, although Grindle didn’t have an exact tally available.
“[The Red Kettle campaign] is like a snowball rolling downhill — it grows heading into Christmas,” Grindle said. “Our last couple weeks tend to be much higher income.”
The weather often impacts donations, Grindle said.
“A little snow helps,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind a dusting to remind us of the season.”
But Grindle’s not complaining that there’s no snow. This is his first year working in Holland, after working in Petoskey.