A gold coin has turned up in a Kankakee County Salvation Army kettle.
The coin, a 2017 $50 American Eagle, is one ounce. GovMint.Com quotes a price of $1,360.59 for the exact same coin. With all valuable coins, the Salvation Army eventually turns them into today's cash by selling to the highest bidder.
Major Nic Montgomery said the coin was dropped in a kettle during the weekend. It is encased in plastic and was accompanied by a note, "Happy Birthday Baby Jesus! 27 years and counting."
The coin was found by Salvation Army drivers Kent Dickinson and Norm Campbell, who were in the process of dumping the kettle coins into cloth bank bags. Those bags eventually go to the bank, where automatic counters sort and log in the change.
The men, Montgomery said, were so excited by finding the coin that they did not record the exact kettle where it was deposited.
Similar to many Salvation Army sites, Kankakee has a history of turning up valuable coins.
"Whoever this person is," Montgomery said, "they obviously have a huge, huge heart to have been doing this all these years — and doing it anonymously. This is awesome. It is one of the reasons we have such a great community."
Montogomery discussed the coin at Wednesday's monthly Salvation Army board luncheon. So far, the Christmas drive is running about $5,200 ahead of last year, having already taken in $40,205 in kettle and mail donations.
The kettles are up at 14 locations from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. every day but Sunday. The drive ends Dec. 23.
Volunteer bellringers, either individuals or groups, are welcome. To volunteer, call 815-933-8421. To request Angel Tree tags to gather gifts for children or get a barrel to fill with food, you can call the same number.