The 1880 gold coin that was dropped into a Salvation Army kettle last month in Cynthiana was sold for $2,001 this week through a sealed-bid auction.
The minimum bid for the $10 gold piece with a Liberty head on one side and an eagle on the other was $800. The successful bidder is from Eastern Kentucky but wishes to remain anonymous, said Kim Brooks, treasurer for the service unit of the Harrison County chapter of the Salvation Army.
She did not know whether the winning bidder was a coin collector.
The proceeds from the auction will help people who need assistance with utility bills, food or prescription medicine this winter.
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The 10 bids opened Monday were from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, said John Hodge, chairman of the service unit.
The 131-year-old coin was dropped into a bell-ringer's bucket at the Cynthiana Wal-Mart. The coin passed through several hands unnoticed until a teller at the Kentucky Bank branch in Cynthiana saw that it was something special.
The Harrison County chapter's kettle drive typically collects about $10,000 to $11,000 from Black Friday immediately after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. This year's drive raised $11,500, plus the $2,001 from the sale of the coin, which exceeded the goal and set a record, Brooks said.
"For it to be a small community, I think that's a large amount of money, especially with the economy the way it is," Brooks said.
If she could thank the person who gave the coin, Brooks said, she would say: "That was an awesome thing to do. It was just an awesome gift."
And she doesn't want to appear presumptuous, but Brooks said she might add: "We could use another one."