Fenn’s Fabulous Hoard

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, a disgruntled treasure hunter is suing the estate of the late Santa Fe art dealer Forrest Fenn, alleging Fenn cheated him of the treasure Fenn claimed to have buried somewhere in the Rockies by moving the hoard after the hunter advised Fenn he had solved the clues Fenn included in his book The Thrill of the Chase. The alleged treasure was then allegedly discovered by another individual, who is also named in the lawsuit, together with Fenn’s grandson and a third man who has written a book about the decade-long search for the hidden hoard.

I keep inserting “alleged’s” in this story because as far as I know no independent, objective observer has ever actually seen the fabulous treasure. Fenn released photos of the chest and its contents, but I know of no expert who has ever examined or appraised the hoard. For all I know, the gems were cheap costume jewelry and the ‘gold’ coins chocolate.

I was surprised at the way not just feather-headed TV personalities but serious news outlets took Fenn’s story at face value, despite his dubious reputation in the Santa Fe art and antiquities community. What might have been considered a harmless and amusing hoax took on a darker aspect when people began dying in the search.