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The active-chromosphere giant HD 12545 is noteworthy for its remarkable 1990 photmetric amplitude of 0.6 mag in V, which implies that nearly half the visible hemisphere of the star was covered by cool spots. We report the results of a spectroscopic study of HD 12545, showing it to be an active-chromosphere binary with an orbital period of 23.97 days. We establish the spectral type as KO III, and measure v sin i = 17 +/- 2 km/s. The various indicators of activity in the optical and ultraviolet suggest that HD 12545 is one of the most active RS CVn systems yet observed. H alpha is a broad, variable emission feature, with a strength comparable to what is observed in very active RS CVn systems such as V711 Tau (HR 1099) or II Peg. The surface fluxes of chromospheric and transition-regions lines in the UV range from 10 to nearly 400 times the solar values. With a moderately strong Li I lambda 6707 feature and a large space motion, HD 12545 is an unusual but not unique giant, since these properties are similar to those of the single active-chromosphere giant HD 33798.