Three months after Forrest Fenn’s famed treasure was found in the Rockies, the wealthy antiques dealer passed away in his New Mexico home. He was 90.
Fenn was best-known for hiding treasure in the Rocky Mountains and sending tens of thousands of people on a quest to uncover a chest full of golden nuggets and other jewels, estimated to be worth around $2 million. He’d announced the treasure in his 2010 autobiography “The Thrill of the Chase,” and gave clues on its location in a poem in the book.
Fenn, who was born in Texas, also ran an art gallery in Santa Fe.
Fenn, who previously had kidney cancer, said he had planned to bury the treasure with himself as part of the treasure hunt, but once he recovered from cancer, he hid it in the Rockies instead. Fenn claimed around 350,000 people went looking for the chest, and two people died in the process, according to authorities.
He initially said he started the hunt to “get people off their couches.” Many people believed the whole thing was a hoax until someone found the treasure in June. Fenn kept the identity of the person who’d found the jewels a secret.
Dal Neitzel, a retired documentary filmmaker, told The New York Times that he was one of the people who had searched for the treasure extensively. He eventually became friends with Fenn.
“I think most of the searchers were just giant kids at heart,” Neitzel told the paper. “What kid didn’t have a lot of fun pretending they were going to find a lost chest of gold that some pirate had hidden? It’s just an extension of your childhood. But instead of it being pretend, it was real. And that made it more fun for adults.”