$1,000 bill put in Salvation Army kettle
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. ” Salvation Army Major Richard Hathorn knew when and where it would happen, but he still doesn’t know who slipped the $1,000 bill into one of the charity’s Christmas kettles.
Each Christmas since 1978, someone has covertly stuffed one of the big bills into a kettle in this northern West Virginia university city.
This year, Hathorn says, the donor alerted the Salvation Army that the tradition would continue with a deposit between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Wal-Mart at University Town Center.
During the appointed period, Hathorn carefully scanned the faces of people dropping money into the kettle, but he didn’t spot anyone with a bill bearing the likeness of President Grover Cleveland.
He found it later, wrapped inside a $1 bill.
Hathorn says he hopes to raise about $62,000 from the kettles this year to provide everything from toys and food to utility assistance.
A platinum coin estimated to be worth more than $1,000 couldn’t fit in a Salvation Army kettle, so the donor handed it over to a bell ringer in Pensacola, Fla.
An unidentified person donated the coin Friday outside a Belk department store.
“The man who donated the coin tried to put it in the kettle, but it wouldn’t fit,” Salvation Army spokeswoman Yvonne Warthen said. “So he just handed it to the bell ringer. It just shows how honest our bell ringers are.”
The coin’s face value is $100, but the Salvation Army had it appraised, and initial estimates put its value at about $1,300. The coin is from 2006 and is stamped with an image of the Statue of Liberty.
The Salvation Army has also received at least eight gold coins in its kettles this year. One, a one-ounce South African Krugerrand worth about $800, turned up earlier this month in Washington. And gold coins have turned up all the way back to 1982, the group said.
Salvation Army officials also have reported getting an Indian head gold coin in Barre, Vt., one-ounce American Eagle coins in Prescott, Ariz., and Fargo, N.D., and a Lady Liberty coin in Grand Island, Neb., among other unusual coins.