In Denver an anonymous person donated two rare U.S. gold coins and a South African coin to the Salvation Army.
The coins were found in the familiar red kettles which are part of the organization's annual fundraising efforts.
The U.S. coins were identified as $20 Liberty gold pieces minted in 1902 and 1904 respectively. The South African coin, an African Krugerrand, is valued at $1,200 to $1,700.
The charity's leaders say the gifts could not have come at a better time.
"The requests that have come to us are up," Salvation Army Major Neal Hogan said. "We've had more people asking for help. So these gold coins will make a big difference, helping to pull us back up to the needed amounts to carry out this Christmas."
According to NBC's KUSA, the charity's Red Kettle Campaign was started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891. Since that time it has become one of the most famous and significant charitable outreach efforts in the U.S.
*Originally published December 11, 2009