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Rare coin found in Salvation Army kettle

December 15, 2009 3:14:04 PM PST
A Connecticut Salvation Army chapter got a pleasant surprise when its members were counting change dropped into one of the organization's holiday donation kettles. Members found a rare 1881 "half eagle" coin last week while counting donations made somewhere in Torrington on the day after Thanksgiving.

The half eagle was the country's first-ever gold coin and had a face value of $5. It was in circulation from 1795 to 1929.

Lt. Alan Galentine of the Salvation Army's Torrington Corps. says the chapter will be having the coin appraised, but it appears it's worth between $250 and $400. He says it's not clear at which location the coin was donated.

The coin was found when a change counting machine didn't recognize the half eagle and separated it from other coins.

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