Gold in the kettle

Donor drops Krugerrands into red kettles

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Fort Dodge Salvation Army Capt. Rick Hamelund holds a pair of 1-ounce South African gold Krugerrands that were dropped into red kettles Thursday. Each coin is worth about $1,100 and will be sold, with the funds contributed to the Red Kettle campaign.

When Salvation Army Capt. Rick Hamelund was emptying out the kettles Thursday night he was in for a surprise.

Among the bills of various denominations and the silver- and copper-colored coins, something shiny caught his eye.

Someone had dropped two 1-ounce South African gold Krugerrands into the red kettles.

“I was completely shocked,” he said. “These things shine in the light.”

The coins were found in two separate kettles: One was at Hy-Vee and the other at Wal-Mart. Both were being manned by members of the Fort Dodge National Honor Society.

The boost comes at a time when it’s desperately needed.

Hamelund said the Red Kettle campaign is way behind the $60,000 goal.

“We just passed $40,000,” he said. “At this point, we need to be at $57,000; we’re $17,000 behind.”

Sam Ashton, co-owner of Fort Dodge Coin and Stamp, said the value of a Krugerrand is pegged to the price of gold.

“The value is a little over melt value,” he said.

As of the Friday gold market, he said that each one would be worth about $1,128.

The coins have an interesting history.

“Before Apartheid, it was the most popular gold coin,” he said. “They were illegal to have for awhile, but they’re legal now. People buy them as an investment.”

The coins were minted in several weights:1/10, 1/4, 1/2 and 1 ounce.

“The 1 ounce is the most common,” he said.

Ashton was happy to see that someone had given the coins in the red kettles.

“It’s nice to know there’s people out there still thinking of others,” he said.

Hamelund would like to let the donor know that the coins’ value will be well and carefully spent.

“Someone blessed us,” he said. “We’re going to be good stewards of this. Someone was very generous.”

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