By Kevin Murphy
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Reuters) - People have tossed gold and silver pieces into Salvation Army holiday kettles but a gold tooth found this week in Kansas City was a local first, an organization leader said on Friday.
"It's the whole tooth, with the root and everything,” said Rick Carroll, who is in charge of the Salvation Army in the northern portion of Kansas City. “It really looks strange.”
Carroll said he has never heard of a gold tooth being donated in Kansas City during his 26 years with the charitable organization. Gold bars and coins, silver pieces, diamond rings and wedding rings occasionally do land in the kettles, he said.
Carroll said gold in the tooth is estimated to be worth about $100 but will be kept for a while in case it was put into the kettle by accident.
“What happens is that somebody may have a tooth in their pocket and reach in the pocket to throw all the change in the bucket,” Carroll said. “We get that with car keys and house keys. It happens more often than you think.”
If nobody claims the tooth, the gold will be sold and the proceeds kept for a holiday fund-raising drive that is about $50,000 behind pace in reaching its $2 million goal for the Kansas City area, Carroll said.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Christian Plumb)