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Church building gets gold foundation

Church Gold 0425 Vert

A new church was given a firm financial foundation thanks to a timely donation of this rare proof 1866 gold $20 that has been consigned the Heritage’s Central States auction.

A new church will be built in Valparaiso, Ind., thanks to a donated 1866 proof gold $20 and the services of Heritage Auctions.

The Proof-65 Cameo gold piece graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and stickered by the Certified Acceptance Corporation will be a highlight lot in the official Central States Numismatic Society auction to be conducted by Heritage April 26-May 2.

The coin is one of 30 struck and there are just 10 known survivors.

“Today we can track only 10 known specimens, and three of them are part of the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the American Numismatic Society and the Bass Foundation,” said Sarah Miller, Director of Numismatics at Heritage Auctions’ New York office.

This piece is the second finest known. It last appeared at auction in 1993.

The coin was given to GracePoint Church as seed money earlier this year. The church was founded in 2009 but has no permanent home.

GracePoint Lead Pastor Ben Lamb consigned the coin to Heritage to launch a church-building project.

Pastor Ben, as he is referred to by his congregation, says four years ago the donor was attacked by four assailants who wanted to steal her late husband’s coin, but she and the coin were saved by a neighbor.

“Her husband was a quadriplegic for many years and used his time to study investing, including coin collecting. This was the very first one he ever purchased. He passed away 14 years ago, and she held onto the coin but said that after the attempted theft it had been a thorn in her side,” said Pastor Ben.

"We were down to just a couple days to meet our financial deadline for our new building, and Heritage immediately wired GracePoint $150,000 (advance payment). We were absolutely blown away! Honestly, we were completely stunned by the value of the coin,” Pastor Ben said.

The widow wishes to remain anonymous. For more information, visit

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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