A Proof 1866 Coronet double eagle sold to benefit GracePoint Church
in Valparaiso, Ind., brought $517,000 on April 27 as part of
Heritage’s Central States Numismatic Society auctions.
The gold rarity — one of perhaps 10 known of 30 struck — was the top
lot of Heritage’s April 26 to 30 U.S. coin auctions in Schaumburg,
Ill., which realized more than $22.8 million.
The gold $20 double eagle was certified Proof 65 Cameo by Numismatic
Guaranty Corp. and the coin was given a gold Certified Acceptance
It was donated to the church by the wife of the collector who
purchased it in 1993, and it was sold to help the congregation get its
own church building. The story brought mainstream media attention,
linking the church with the motto “In God We Trust,” which first
appeared on double eagles in 1866. The church’s pastor, Ben Lamb, said
before the sale, “It’s ironic that the last few hours before our
financial deadline, the congregation had to do exactly what the coin’s
motto said over a hundred years ago: trust God.”
Connect with Coin World:
Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Follow us on Twitter
After the sale Pastor Lamb told the Chicago Tribune that
after Heritage’s seller’s and buyer’s fees were accounted for, the
congregation would receive $418,000. Heritage had conservatively
estimated that the piece would bring $300,000 and, on the strong
result, Pastor Lamb said, “We obviously would have been grateful for
it to sell for $300,000, but getting more helps with the deficit so
greatly.” The new church is slated to be ready for services this October.
’Numismatic Bookie’ tackles how an 1804 dollar
appeared in a Budapest book before any were struck: Inside Coin
This week, we find an 1804 dollar in a book two years before any of
the coins were struck, a reader questions
Another significant Proof coin in the auction was an 1875 Coronet
gold $10 eagle graded Proof 63 Cameo by Professional Coin Grading
Service. Just 100 1875 gold eagles were struck at the Philadelphia
Mint for circulation, so collectors seeking an example often look to
the 20 Proofs struck. Of the circulation strikes, fewer than 10 are
believed to survive and a comparable number of Proof coins remain.
With several examples housed in permanent museum collections including
the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection and the American
Numismatic Society’s holdings, fewer than 20 1875 Coronet eagles of
either kind are available.
The provenance of the subject piece may date back to 1875, when
William B. Wetmore purchased a complete 1875 gold Proof set from the
Philadelphia Mint. This example would later join the collection of
Egypt’s King Farouk and then the Norweb Collection. It was last sold
at a 1991 Superior Galleries auction where it realized $68,750. In
Schaumburg it brought $193,875.