Corinne Charleston, a corps sergeant major with the Michigan City branch of the Salvation Army, said she was excited to discover a $50 bill in one of the donation kettles until she found the gold bar in a kettle from outside a Walgreens store, the News Dispatch of Michigan City, reported Thursday.
Charleston said the gold bar was the largest donation she has seen.
"You never think it will happen to you," Charleston said.
Salvation Army Lt. Bill Brutto said he took the 1-ounce gold bar to a local pawn shop, where it was appraised at approximately $1,200.
Brutto said a private donor has agreed to trade the gold bar for its full cash value.
"I've never seen anything like it before," he said. "It's always been a Christmas tradition so to be a part of it is really cool."
Brutto said the total of the year's donations will be announced after all donations have been collected and counted. He said donations are being collected until the end of the year.