INDIANAPOLIS – Among the crumpled bills and pocket change, a Salvation Army bell ringer in Indiana recently found a shiny gold coin in his red kettle.
But not just any gold coin. This coin, a 1915 100 Corona Austrian gold coin, was valued at $1,500. And the name of the man who collected it outside of a Noblesville Walgreens is just as smile-worthy: James Bond.
"It is really cool," Bond said in statement. "I hear about that stuff in the news, but now it's with me, so I feel like I'm part of this big thing that people really care about."
Sam Hyde, a Salvation Army spokesman for Central Indiana, said every penny is appreciated, but such a large donation can make a bigger difference.
"It just means so much ... because it means that they went out of their way to do something extra special," Hyde said.
Because Thanksgiving fell on the last week of November, the Salvation Army has had less time this year to run its red kettle campaign. Volunteers and staff typically start hitting the stores on Black Friday.
"This year has been a tough year. It really has been," Hyde said. "So something like this is a huge jolt to our fundraising efforts."
It's not uncommon for people to mysteriously leave high-valued items in kettles, Hyde said. Things like wedding rings and "the occasional gold tooth."
Funds raised during the campaign allow the Salvation Army to operate two community centers, a homeless shelter for women and children, multiple food pantries and an addiction treatment center in Central Indiana.
Bond said in the statement that he first started ringing the iconic Salvation Army bell "because I just needed a job."
"But when they said we are the army behind the Army, it just made sense to me that I can ring a bell and make a difference," he said.
Follow Elizabeth DePompei on Twitter: @edepompei.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Salvation Army bell ringer finds $1,500 gold coin in red kettle