Donated gold coin pays for new church

Posted at 11:12 AM, Apr 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-19 11:12:20-04

For seven years the Gracepoint congregation in Valparaiso, Indiana quickly grew from 24 parishioners to more than 750. But when the mobile church decided to buy a permanent property, church leaders were surprised by the power of one donation that came in the form of a single coin.

In February Pastor Ben Lamb began appealing to his parishioners for funds to purchase a 19,000 square foot warehouse for the Gracepoint congregation.

"The generosity of the people from people who make six-figures to people who make six-dollars and hour… everyone's just stepped up and done their part," Lamb said.

But the church needed to raise $300,000 within 72-hours to secure funding from their bank for the project.

That's when a parishioner came forward with a very special donation.

Her only requirement was that she remain anonymous.

"I got to thinking about my husband's coin collection and I thought - 'you know something, I think there might be a coin that might get the church out of the hole," said the donor.

She chose an extremely rare gold coin from her late husband's collection to put in the collection plate.

"I didn't just how valuable it was. I knew it was rare but not the value of it," she said.

Experts say it's one of only ten known surviving 1866 Liberty Double Eagle coins in the existence.

And it turns out, it's worth an estimated $300,000.

"For this coin to come about days later and it says - "In God We Trust" - it's one of the first $20 gold pieces ever to be stamped with that - it's like God really did this and I doubted," Pastor Lamb said.

Construction has begun on what will be the new home of the Gracepoint church.

"From the start it felt good and I've thought about - okay do I have second thoughts about this? No. Not at all. I feel I'm blessed being able to give this coin away," the donor said.

The coin is now being kept in a vault until it is sold at a live auction on April 27th. Online bidding has already begun and will set the opening auction price. Bids are already up to $140,000 and will likely fetch much more.