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Gold auction results might be divine

Coin collectors understand the concept of a record price.

Is there such a thing as a divine price?

Last night a gold coin estimated at $300,000 sold for $517,000.

It was in the Central States Numismatic Society sale conducted by Heritage Auctions in Schaumburg, Ill.

Proceeds go to pay for the building of a church in Valparaiso, Ind.

What sold was a Proof-65 Cameo $20 gold piece dated 1866.

It was graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and has a Certified Acceptance Corporation sticker.

On the coin's reverse is the “In God We Trust” national motto put on $5, $10 and $20 gold coins in 1866.

The motto had first appeared in 1864 on the two-cent piece.

The 1866 gold $20 was consigned by GracePoint Church.

It had been given the coin by a widow of a coin collector.

She wishes to remain anonymous.

There are just 10 pieces known of the original 30 struck.

This is the second finest.

At the time the coin was consigned to the sale, background information was provided.

Here is some of what I wrote in a previous story.

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.

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," said Pastor Ben.

This was the very first coin he ever purchased.

He died 14 years ago.

His widow held onto the coin. The attempted theft made it a thorn in her side, according to Pastor Ben.

"We were down to just a couple days to meet our financial deadline for our new building," he said.

"Heritage immediately wired GracePoint $150,000 (advance payment). We were absolutely blown away!" Pastor Ben said.

Clearly there are some unusually fortunate elements in this story.

There is an old hymn titled, “How firm a foundation.”

GracePoint Church clearly has this gold coin in its foundation.

The sale price just might be divine.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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