A unique piece of foreign currency has found its way into the hands of a local charity organization.
Through its recent Kettle Drive, the Salvation Army of Great Bend received a rare Krugerrand coin. The coin is made of an ounce of gold and is worth between $1,800 and $2,000, said Pam Vainer, manager of Salvation Army of Great Bend.
“We would like to publicly thank the anonymous donor for this most generous donation,” Vainer said. “These kinds of coins are very rare and to have one show up during our Kettle Drive is a real piece of holiday treasure.”
Vainer said the anonymous donor called the Salvation Army state office in Kansas City and notified personnel last week that the coin was deposited in one of the four Salvation Army Kettles in Great Bend and to keep an eye out for it. “We found the coin during collection at the end of the day on Christmas Eve after we were made aware that it was placed in one of our kettles,” she said. Vainer added that the coin was placed in a sealed manila envelope and deposited in the kettle at the Dillons Store located at 10th and McKinley.
The Krugerrand is a South African coin, first minted on July 3, 1967, to help market South African gold and produced by Rand Refinery and the South African Mint. The name is a compound of Paul Kruger, the former president of the South African Republic, and rand, the South African unit of currency. On the reverse side of the Krugerrand is a springbok, South Africa’s national animal.
By 1980 the Krugerrand accounted for more than 90% of the global gold coin market and was the number one choice for investors buying gold. However, during the 1980s and 1990s, Krugerrands fell out of favor as some Western countries forbade import of the Krugerrand because of its association with the apartheid government of South Africa.
Although gold Krugerrand coins have no face value, they are considered legal tender in South Africa by the South African Reserve Bank Act of 1989.
In 2017, the Rand Refinery began minting silver versions, which have the same overall design as the gold coin. In the 21st century, Krugerrands have received media attention in the United States after anonymous donors have left the valuable coin in the Salvation Army’s annual “Christmas Kettle” donation jars in various cities around the country.