Anonymous Donor Drops Rare $1,000 Bill into Salvation Army Kettle

A donation is made as Salvation Army bell ringer Ruben Rios works outside a store November 21, 2003 on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. Funds raised through the Chicagoland bell ringing campaign will be used year-round to help feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, give help to the hurting and …
Tim Boyle/Getty

An anonymous donor in Morgantown, West Virginia, dropped a rare and generous gift into a red Salvation Army kettle this week.

The unknown individual who slipped a $1,000 dollar bill printed in 1928 into the red bucket recently has been doing the same thing for the past 41 years, according to WBOY.

The $1,000 bill was first issued by the Continental Congress in 1775 to help finance the Revolutionary War, said Matthew Wittmann of the American Numismatic Society.

However, it was only worth a fraction of that value back then.

“So this $1,000 note seems incredible, but what it reflects is actually how little paper dollars were valued,” he said. “It might only have been worth $20 in ‘real’ hard money at the time.”

In the years after the Civil War, the bills were used for large financial transactions such as real estate deals or interbank transfers. The Federal Reserve recalled the notes in 1969 when President Nixon ordered them eliminated.

Today, a $1,000 bill in perfect condition can be worth more than $3,000, according to

Salvation Army Lieutenant Sheldon Greenland said he is thankful for the annual gift because it helps the organization provide for those in their community.

“We’re so grateful that we are able to be the recipient of this generous donation because every donation that’s given in this community goes right back into the community,” he said. “I don’t know if everybody knows but we serve about 120 people, every day, Monday through Friday at our feeding program plus we also offer utility assistance plus we have emergency food bags for those that are in need.”

Since 1865, the Salvation Army’s mission has been to “preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination,” according to its website.

“The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God.”


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