The Salvation Army Cool Kid Art Contest

“Celebrates the Spirit of Giving”

In 1891, Captain Joseph McFee resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner to the poor of San Francisco. Uncertain of how he would pay for the food, Capt. McFee considered ways to fund his event. He recalled a large pot called “Simpson’s Pot,” displayed on the Stage Landing from his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. Passersby tossed charitable donations into the pot.

Capt. McFee decided to do something similar in San Francisco. After city authorities granted permission, Captain McFee placed a crab pot and tripod at the Oakland ferry landing at the foot of San Francisco’s Market Place. The kettle – and McFee’s request to “Keep the Pot Boiling!” – drew a lot of attention, and so began a tradition that spread throughout the United States, then the world.

As The Salvation Army’s kettles became synonymous with the spirit of Christmas giving, a new and exciting tradition began. Valuable gold coins began to mysteriously appear among the spare change being dropped into the kettles. In 1982, the first “Gold Coin” appeared in a kettle in Crystal Lake, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Since then, more than 300 gold coins have been donated at kettle sites across the country.

Finding a single gold coin in a Christmas kettle is a valuable gift. To receive more than one is rare. Last year, The Salvation Army discovered 6 U.S. $20 Liberty Head gold coins among their Christmas Kettle donations in Denver, Colorado; a miraculous find.

The coins will be auctioned off October 24, 2008 at Freeman’s. You can bid on the coins via phone.)

Congress authorized the creation of the $20 Liberty Head on March 3, 1849. The coin’s designer, James B. Longacre, was the U.S. Mint’s chief engraver from September 16, 1844 until his death on New Year’s Day, 1869. The Liberty Head depicts the familiar profile of Lady Liberty and at $20, was the highest denomination of any coin struck by the U.S. Mint to that date. The denomination was created specifically as a response to the California Gold Rush as a way to deal with the sudden influx of metallic wealth. It was generally used to store value or by banks to keep their gold reserve. Today, the Liberty Head, which is 90% gold, is sought for its bullion value and as a beautiful numismatic collectible.

Monetary donations from The Salvation Army’s kettle collections go towards helping people in need in our community. Providing food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, and spiritual care to the emotionally distraught. The Salvation Army accomplishes this through the generosity of its donors.

To honor the anonymous donor(s) of the gold coins received in last year’s Christmas kettles, WorthPoint, ANACS(America’s oldest coin grading service), and The Salvation Army joined together in creating the Cool Kid Art Contest; inviting children from the ages of 5-12 to draw thank you pictures of the person or people who donated the six gold coins during last years holiday season.

Over 300 children showed their appreciation through creative artwork depicting the spirit of giving, while visiting WorthPoint’s booth at The American Presidential Experience, August 22-29th. On October 10th, four winners will be notified.