Author and art collector Forrest Fenn hid the chest five years ago

By Drew Mackie
Updated April 29, 2015 01:25 AM

Who’s up for a treasure hunt?

There is a full-fledged treasure chest stashed away somewhere in New Mexico. The prize for whoever finds it? Gold coins and jewels whose value has been estimated as high as $2 million.

Five years ago, Santa Fe resident Forrest Fenn, 84, hid the chest somewhere in New Mexico, after stocking it with coins, diamonds, sapphires, rubies and gold nuggets from his personal collection. The only clues to the treasure’s whereabouts come in the appropriately titled The Thrill of the Chase, a book Fenn himself published in 2010.

Since then, treasure hunters have combed the state in search of Fenn’s prize, and although Fenn says some have come close, no one yet has found it. Speaking to Albuquerque’s KOAT News, Fenn estimated that 30,000 people came looking last summer, and he estimates another 50,000 will come this summer.

Fenn told KOAT that the ultimate motivation was to get people out into the New Mexico countryside. “I wanted the monetary value to be a consideration for those who are looking for it, but mostly my motive was to get kids off the couch and away from their texting machines and out in the mountains,” he said.

And he doesn’t care if anyone ever actually finds it.

“I would love if someone found it tomorrow, but if nobody found it for a hundred years, that’s okay with me too,” he told the station.

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