This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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Rare coin dealer Michael Fuljenz, president of Universal Coin & Bullion Co. in Beaumont, Texas, placed a 1-ounce American Eagle gold coin donation valued at $1,400 into a Salvation Army collection kettle.
He urged others across the country this holiday season to do the same or to donate whatever they can afford. The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas kettle drive officially kicked off Nov. 19.
“There are about 5,000 coin dealers in the United States, and I encourage them, challenge them this Christmas, as well as the public, to donate what they can to help people in need,” said Fuljenz. “If you can’t afford a 1-ounce or even smaller gold coin, remember the New Testament story of the poor widow, and give what you can. The Biblical parable tells us she donated only what she could afford, two tiny bronze coins known as widow’s mites.”
Major Florian Estrada, commanding officer of the Beaumont Salvation Army Corps, said requests to the Salvation Army for emergency services are on the rise; however, donations the past year are down about 20 percent nationwide and 24 percent in the Beaumont area.
“It is only when people like Mike Fuljenz respond to the growing needs of others in such a positive way, and then challenge others to do the same, that the Salvation Army is able to continue assisting the hundreds of families locally and nationally who seek our help, especially during this time of the year,” said Estrada.
“The tradition of the Salvation Army collection kettles dates back to 1891,” explained Fuljenz during a keynote speech at the Salvation Army of Beaumont annual Life Changers banquet on Nov. 9. “The tradition of people generously putting gold coins into kettles began in December 1982 when someone anonymously placed five 1-ounce gold South African Krugerrands into a kettle in a shopping mall near Chicago.”
At the conclusion of his remarks, he donated and placed into a red collection kettle a 2010-dated U.S. Mint American Eagle 1-ounce gold coin.
“As a wise, anonymous person once said: ‘To the world you might be only one person, but to one person you might be the world,’” Fuljenz said.
A video of the speech and gold coin presentation is available online at www.universalcoin.com.
Fuljenz is an award-wining numismatic author and a frequent interview guest on radio and television news and personal finance programs. He serves on the board of directors of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets.