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Gold Coin Auction Raises

$510 For Salvation Army

Kevin Herrick, owner of Lettis Auction House, right, shakes hands with Lt. Ashley Mineard, The Salvation Army, as he presents her with a check for $510, raised by auctioning off an 1899 gold coin earlier tonight. (Ian Austin/

By IAN AUSTIN • Special to

Luna Vega, Oneonta, holds up the coin as bidding begins.

ONEONTA – One single small coin will help to make many people’s Christmas a little merrier this year, thanks to three anonymous benefactors, who donated an 1899 gold coin to Lettis Auctions, which auctioned it off for $510 to once again benefit the Salvation Army.

The 1899 coin is made from 97 percent gold and is considered in extra fine condition.

“The coin itself is not uncommon, it was how people were paid back then,” said one of the donors. “It was week’s salary at the time and is roughly equivalent to $320 today.”

“In year’s past, one gentleman would drop a coin in one of the red kettles in  the area.” explained Peter Davidson, Lettis Auction business manager. “But then you ran the risk of it getting lost, or thrown out if someone didn’t know what it was. By auctioning it off, it makes sure it is not lost and that every dime goes to the Salvation Army.”

“I’ve been blessed.” remarked one of the donors. “I didn’t have much growing up, I was pretty poor. But a light shined on me and I worked hard and I wanted to give back. There are a lot of people out there who need basic things like food and clothing to keep them warm. (The Salvation Army) can get them that. It’s just a good thing to do this time of year.”

As the last weekend of the annual kettle drive begins, the Oneonta Salvation Army post may fall short of its annual goal.  The kettles are set up at Southside Mall, Walmart and Price Choppers in Oneonta, Cooperstown and Sidney.


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