Salvation Army Maj. J. Craig Haggerty said the donation will help a campaign that lags about $8,000 behind where it was last year, the Elmira Star Gazette said Tuesday. The coin was donated Friday but not discovered until Monday when volunteers were counting up donations.
"I've never had a gold coin before. I've heard about them. When it happened someplace else, I always wondered, 'Why not here?'" said Haggerty, who has been manning kettles for 35 years and is in his 26th Christmas as a Salvation Army officer.
A Salvation Army spokeswoman said such donations happen a few times every year during the order's ubiquitous Christmas donation drive. About 400 such coins have been found in all since 1982 when the first one was donated in Chicago.