On March 20, 2014, the Bay Area was hit with the launch of a new organization, the Bently Foundation, which promises to enrich programs and initiatives in many realms of life.
The Bently Foundation, founded by Christopher Bently, son of the late entrepreneur, engineer and founder of the Bently Nevada Corporation, Donald Bently, emulates Christopher’s strong belief that corporate success should be accompanied with the responsibility to become involved with the community and create a positive impact. Throughout his life, he has avidly supported organizations and groups that promote the arts, environmental sustainability and animal welfare such as the Black Rock Arts Foundation, Friends of the Urban Forest and the Sunset Youth.
The foundation launched with an auction of 600 rare coins from the Gold Rush era, straight from the Collection of Donald E. Bently. The auction succeeded in raising $8.9 million (exceeding the expected $7.5 million target) which will go to aiding the various organizations supported by Christopher Bently and the Foundation.
The auction was orchestrated by Heritage Auctions, the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer and the world’s third largest auction house, and took place on the Bently Reserve (the Old Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Building). The auctioned collection included several pieces from the California Gold Rush, the Old West, the San Francisco Mint and the Carson City Mint coinage. It included some notorious pieces such as the 1830 Templeton Reid quarter eagle, AU55, from the first private gold coiner in Georgia during the early days of the American gold rush and the 1927-D double eagle, which sold for a whopping $1,292,500. The launch also included a celebratory cocktail party the night before.
As Christopher Bently said, “My father taught me to be forward thinking and to have vision,” and it is because of the Bently’s vision that the Foundation’s launch was so successful and has already attracted several non-profit organizations from the Bay Area, Nevada and other areas searching for grants to support their works and garnered the attention of other local organizations who are waiting to see what more the Foundation has in store.