BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A rare coin dropped in a Salvation Army red kettle in Montgomery County is worth between $1,300 and $1,700, the organization says.

Salvation Army donations are unusually low this year — about 13 percent off the pace — so the rare gold coin came just in time, Tracey Leong reports.

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A generous, anonymous donor slipped the surprise into the red kettle at the Flower Hill Giant Food store in Gaithersburg.

“We’ll be using all of these funds to support our programs that are with emergency assistance programs,” says Salvation Army Captain Karl Dahlin.

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The day the coin was deposited, “I noticed a man with a hospital mask on his face, and he had this big thing and he took time to put it in there,” kettle manner George Hariston says. “You can see the hole is not that big.”

The donor also dropped a card in the slot, reading: “A Glory to God in the highest and on Earth, peace, goodwill towards men.”

The Salvation Army started using red kettles to collect donations for the holiday season back in 1891, and they are now used worldwide. The organization helps more than 4.5 million people during the holidays.

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