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New Mexico authorities ask eccentric art dealer to stop real-life treasure hunt

Screenshot: National Treasure

Eccentric rich people are everywhere in media, from pop culture to, well, the media. Some of them enjoy toying with the hoi polloi from atop their mountains of gold, where they occasionally babysit their nephews. Take Forrest Fenn, an art dealer and one-time fighter pilot who decided to bury $2 million in gold and jewelry somewhere in the Rockies. This wannabe Indiana Jones has proffered some of his found treasure to anyone hale enough to go looking for it.


As he told NPR last year, he’s hidden the gold coins “somewhere between Santa Fe and the Canadian border at an elevation above 5,000 feet.” You’ll also need brains to go with your brawn, because he’s inserted clues to finding the treasure in a poem in his self-published book, The Thrill of the Chase. Fenn, who says he prides himself on “being eccentric,” hid the $2 million in the wake of the Great Recession, not to torture those who might have lost their homes, but to “cheer folks up and get them off their couches and into the great outdoors.” He could have done that by spending $2 million on a park or something, but whimsical old fat cat that he is, Fenn’s tucked away that small bronze box filled with gold coins, jewels, and ancient carvings somewhere in the Rockies. On second thought, maybe he’s more like the Freemasons in National Treasure, whose hidden treasure haunted Nicolas Cage’s character.

In any case, the rough terrain of the Rocky Mountains has put off all but the bravest and most Benjamin Gates. But while Fenn says he didn’t hide the treasure anywhere “dangerous,” two people have died in search of it, including one fellow just last week. So New Mexico state police have formally asked Fenn to knock it off, and for the first time, he’s considering it. While the millionaire mulls that decision, presumably over the mantle of the fireplace in his great hall, all New Mexico police can do is urge people to “educate and equip” themselves while searching for Curly’s—we mean, Fenn’s—gold.

[via Thrillist]

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