Millionaire Forrest Fenn Shares Apparent First Photos of Mysterious Treasure After Prize Is Found
The art and antique dealer from Santa Fe, New Mexico, posted three photos that showed the bronze chest filled with gold coins, gold nuggets and more — a haul estimated to be worth $1-5 million, according to CNBC.
One photo taken “not long after” it was found showed the chest with coins, nuggets and a rusty key, while another featured Fenn, 89, wearing a silver bracelet he said has since turned black from tarnish.
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In a third photo, Fenn appeared to take stock of the goodies as he laid out all the coins before him. He said the chest appeared darker than it did 10 years ago, when he “left it on the ground and walked away.”
Fenn announced that the decade-long search for the prize was over on June 6, and that it had been found in the exact same spot where he hid it by a man who wanted to remain anonymous.
“The finder wants me to remain silent and I always said the finder gets to make those two calls. Who and where,” Fenn said in his most recent post, which was shared to DalNeitzel.com, the blog of his official chronicler.
He said he did not know the man, and has not communicated with him since 2018.
Fenn has never placed an exact dollar amount on the treasure, and told PEOPLE in 2016 he would never try to guess. He said that some hunters have gotten within 200 feet of the prize, but ultimately walked away empty-handed.
At least five people died while on the hunt, most recently a 58-year-old Colorado man in late March.
Upon learning of the man’s death, Fenn told PEOPLE he “didn’t anticipate” the loss of any searchers, and that when he initially hid the treasure it was “an easy trip” for him — but now that a decade had passed, it would be impossible for him to go back and retrieve it.
He said he left clues as to the treasure’s location in a 24-line poem featured in his 2010 book The Thrill of the Chase.
He previously told PEOPLE that his goal was to get people to go out into nature, and to give working class Americans a shot at instant wealth.
“I’ve had so much fun over the last 75 years looking for arrowheads and fossils and strange things out in the forests and along the river banks, why not give others the opportunity to do the same thing?” he said.