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Rare coin saves NW Indiana church's plan for new building

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Proceeds from the sale of a rare coin donated by a parishioner will benefit a church in northwest Indiana. (WLS)

A northwest Indiana church's hopes for a new building is still alive - all thanks to a generous donor and a very rare gold coin.

It started when Pastor Ben Lamb and his mobile GracePoint Church in Valparaiso needed a space.

"We have a big 53-foot semi truck and everything gets unloaded and set up every single week," Pastor Lamb said. "We've been doing this every single week. We maxed out at the school we're at and needed our own facility."

They found an ideal location at the right price, but their lender only gave them a few days to come up with a $300,000 guarantee.

It seemed like an impossible task until one of the church members came forward and offered the church a coin.

"We got the coin and we thought, 'What do you do with a coin?'" Lamb said.

But it wasn't just any old coin. Minted in 1866, the $20-denomination gold coin is one of only ten known surviving liberty double eagles with the "In God we trust" motto.

It is expected to sell for over $300,000. But the coin has a checkered past.

The woman who donated it was robbed several times by someone pretending to be a friend just to get to it. That was part of the reason why she wanted to remain anonymous.

"I was beat up, held at gunpoint. I wanted to get rid of the coin. It was just a burden," the anonymous donor said. "From the beginning everyone is asking, 'Are you sure you want to do this?' And from the beginning all I could think of is, 'Yeah. This is right. This is good. And I feel blessed being able to do it."

Online bidding for the coin is open and up to $140,000 as of Saturday evening. The live auction will take place April 27 in Schaumburg.

Meanwhile, the church is still under construction. Their goal is to be up and running in their new location by October 1.

For more information on the auction, click here.

Related Topics:
religioncoinsanonymousdonationsIndianaValparaiso
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