The tradition that's reported to have started in the Midwest nearly 30 years ago was continued this week with the anonymous donation of a valuable gold coin in a Salvation Army kettle, the Beacon News reported.
A 1 ounce gold South African Krugerrand -- valued at about $1,200 -- was dropped into an Aurora-area kettle. A similar one was dropped into a Louisville, Kentucky kettle last week.
The discovery is generous but not unusual. Last year, four one-tenth-ounce gold coins made their way into buckets of The Salvation Army of Aurora, the newspaper reported.
"We are already $1,000 ahead with just this coin," Garcia said. "It's a relief and a blessing. We're glad someone is listening to our bells."
Other generous donations to the kettle campaign over the years have included a diamond engagement ring and a check for $14,845, USA Today reported three years ago.
The first gold coin was donated in Crystal Lake, Ill. in 1982, said Melissa Temme, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army. Since then more than 300 gold coins have been donated.