Hidden Treasure Owner Forrest Fenn Defends Himself From Hoax Accusations With New Photo

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The wealthy antiques dealer who hid treasure in the Rockies 10 years ago has come forward with a photo that he says proves it wasn't a hoax. Forrest Fenn announced earlier this month that a man who wished to remain anonymous found the chest of gold and jewels reportedly worth over $2 million. 

The hunt started a decade ago when Fenn published book with clues to the treasure's whereabouts. Over the years, about 350,000 people have searched for the chest in the vast area stretching from Montana to New Mexico, and at least five people died while searching in remote areas. 

"Photo of the chest taken not long after it was discovered," wrote Fenn. It shows a chest filled with coins and what looks like gold nuggets. There's also a rusty key as well as a twig that somehow got inside.

"It is darker than it was 10 years ago when I left it on the ground and walked away," Fenn said. He said he published the photos to refute allegations on social media that the buried treasure never existed.

Inside Edition spoke to Dr. Lori Verderame, a prominent appraiser, for her opinion on the value.

"I saw pre-Columbian artifacts, I saw American coinage, gold coins," Verderame said. 

One coin is known as the "ship of gold" coin and dates back to the year 1857. 

"That particular coin has a market value just about $15,000 for one coin," Verderame said.

Another coin, called "walking liberty" was minted in 1927 and is worth $2,000. One item could be a solid-gold Inca figure, estimated at $10,000 or more. And the box alone could be worth $15,000. 

The total value of the treasure, according to Verderame, is "easily a $1 million."

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