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Wednesday, December 06

BARRE, Vt. (AP) - With the drop of a single coin into a Salvation Army holiday collection kettle, the group was enriched by as much as $14,000. Capt. Louis Patrick said the coin was a 1908 Indian head coin with a face value of $2.50. It's now valued at least at $250 and possibly as much as $14,000, according to a preliminary analysis.

"I was shocked," Patrick said.

"I've heard of this happening in other places, but I've never actually seen it," he said.

It appears that whomever had the coin was taking care of it. It was dropped into the kettle enclosed in a plastic case. "It was an incredibly generous thing to do," Patrick said. "We are very appreciative."

The Salvation Army is planning to have a formal appraisal conducted of the coin and then it will be sold, possibly before the end of the holiday season, so it can be used for this year's programming.

"One hundred percent of the money will be used to benefit our programs," Patrick said. The local Salvation Army distributes toys, food baskets and clothing.

The Salvation Army typically raises $80,000 through its kettle collections, although the amount has been down a bit, probably because of warm weather. "It's hard to get into the Christmas spirit when its 70 degrees and sunny out," Patrick said. "Now that a few flakes of snow have fallen maybe we'll see more coins dropping into our kettles."

Before the gold coin, Patrick said, the local group had raised $34,000 this year.

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