Fenn treasure

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The Fenn Treasure is a treasure reportedly worth over a million dollars supposedly hidden by art dealer and author Forrest Fenn in the Rocky Mountains. Many people believe that the treasure is located in Yellowstone.[1] Fenn has said he is going to go back and get it when the value is inflated to 10 million dollars.[2] When asked why he created the treasure hunt, Fenn said he "just wanted to give people some hope."[3]

According to Hunter Fenn, many people have claimed to have found the treasure, but no one has provided any evidence to him supporting their claim. As of July 2017, Fenn has stated "The treasure remains where I hid it about 7 years ago". In May 2017, Fenn was asked: "Has anyone determined the nine clues and what they represent?" and his response was: "I don't know that anybody has told me the clues in the right order", leading to speculation that all of the clues have been solved, but the chest remains hidden. Fenn reconfirmed searchers have been within 200 feet (60 m) of the treasure and many within 500 feet (150 m).[4] The Thrill of the Chase and Too Far to Walk books chronicle Fenn's life as an adrenaline junkie and the treasure hunt has attracted many thrill seekers.


Forrest Fenn was a pilot for the United States Air Force with the rank of Major and was awarded the Silver Star for his service in the Vietnam War, where he flew 328 missions.[5] After retiring from the United States Air Force, he and Rex Arrowsmith, who taught Fenn the business of art, operated the Arrowsmith-Fenn Gallery, which later became the Fenn Galleries that he operated with his wife, Peggy.[6][7] The gallery, which he began by purchasing sculptures from struggling artists and casting bronzes of them, was located in Santa Fe, New Mexico and sold everything from artifacts to fine art, openly selling forgeries of Modigliani, Monet, Degas, and other artists.[8] It was eventually sold to Nedra Matteucci.[9] In 1988, Fenn was diagnosed with cancer and came up with the idea during this illness to hide a chest full of treasure for anyone to go find. He filled the chest with "treasure" containing gold nuggets, rare coins, jewelry and gemstones, along with an olive jar holding his autobiography. He intended to hide it and end his life nearby, with the treasure as a legacy.[10] However, he survived his illness and waited until he was 79 or 80 to hide the treasure.

Prior to the treasure hunt, Fenn found himself at odds with authorities over federal antiquities law. FBI agents raided his home in 2009 as part of an investigation into artifact looting in the Four Corners area and seized items, but he was not charged.[11] Two people targeted in the case committed suicide, and Fenn has blamed the FBI for their deaths.[12]


Four people are known to have died while searching for the treasure. New Mexico police have tried to pressure Fenn into ending the hunt.[13]

  1. Randy Bilyeu went missing in January 2016 and was later found dead in July of that year.[14] As a result, Bilyeu's ex-wife told others she thought the Fenn Treasure was a hoax.[15]
  2. Jeff Murphy, 53 years old, of Batavia, Illinois was found dead inside of Yellowstone National Park on June 9, 2017 after falling about 500 feet down a steep slope. The details of the investigation into his death by Yellowstone officials were not made public, but KULR obtained the facts through a Freedom of Information Act request. KULR-TV reports that Murphy was searching for Fenn's treasure. According to KULR, Murphy's wife told park authorities that Murphy was looking for said treasure when she first reported him missing.[16]
  3. Pastor Paris Wallace of Grand Junction, Colorado told family members he was searching for a buried treasure and later failed to show up for a planned family meeting Wednesday June 14, 2017. His car was found parked near the Taos Junction Bridge and his body was subsequently found 5–7 miles (8–11 km) downstream.[17][18]
  4. Eric Ashby, 31 years old, was identified as the treasure seeker found in the Arkansas River on July 28, 2017. On January 26, 2018, Fremont County Coroner's Office received the DNA report from Colorado Bureau of investigations positively identifying Ashby.[19] It is alleged by some of Ashby's family members that Ashby had moved to Colorado in 2016 to look for the treasure, and was last seen on June 28 rafting on the river, 10–15 miles (15–25 km) upstream from where the body was found. The raft overturned, and Ashby had been missing since that time.[20]

In popular culture[edit]

The Fenn Fortune was featured in episode 2.6 of the Travel Channel show Expedition Unknown. The episode, titled "Finding Fenn's Fortune," originally aired on November 18, 2015 and featured host Josh Gates interviewing Fenn and then joining several groups of treasure hunters as they search for the fortune.

Books and media about the Fenn Treasure[edit]

  • Fenn, Forrest (2010). The Thrill of the Chase. ISBN 9780967091785.
  • Fenn, Forrest (2013). Too Far to Walk. ISBN 9780967091792.
  • Rhu Seau, Trent (2013). The Chase for Forrest Fenn's Treasure. ASIN B00CCZ5XVC.
  • Steele, Maxwell (2013). How to Find Forrest Fenn's Treasure. ASIN B00BSXTISS.
  • Briggs, Andrew (2015). Title to the Gold: Find Forrest Fenn's treasure. The clues and answers. ASIN B0145S7IU2.
  • Ritt, Jordan (2015). A Treasure More Than Gold: How I found the solution to Forrest Fenn's poem. ISBN 9781478753742.
  • Wolf, The (2015). Finding Forrest Fenn. ISBN 9781311318602.
  • Brooks, Marvin (2016). Toward Solving Forrest Fenn's Hidden Treasure Clues. ISBN 9780692711781.
  • The Lure. 2017. An documentary feature film about the treasure directed by Tomas Leach. [21]


  1. ^ Burnett, John. "Seeking Adventure And Gold? Crack This Poem And Head Outdoors". NPR. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  2. ^ Goldsmith, Margie (September 17, 2013). "$5 Million Rocky Mountain Treasure Still Waiting to be Found". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  3. ^ "People continue to seek reported hidden treasure in the Rocky Mountains, despite fatal attempts". ABC News. January 12, 2018. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  4. ^ Toby Michael Younis (May 31, 2017). ""The Lure" post-screening Q&A with Forrest Fenn" (Interview).
  5. ^ "Valor Awards for Forrest B. Fenn". MilitaryTimes.
  6. ^ "'Rex' Arrowsmith's Former Partner Becomes Leading Art Dealer in West". Belleville Telescope. January 19, 1978 – via newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Rex Arrowsmith Obituary".
  8. ^ Eady, Brenda (June 9, 1986). "Rivals Scorn His Santa Fe Gallery, but Forrest Fenn Baskets the Cash". People Magazine.
  9. ^ "40 Prominent People - Nedra Matteucci". Southwest Art.
  10. ^ Goldsmith, Margie. "The Thrill of the Chase". Hemispheres Inflight Magazine. Archived from the original on March 26, 2016. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  11. ^ Miller, Cynthia (September 16, 2016). "When Forrest Fenn treasure hunters hit a dead end". Star Tribune. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  12. ^ Sharpe, Tom (August 16, 2011). "Dealer: Blame FBI for seller suicides in Four Corners looting case". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  13. ^ "Police implore author who says he hid treasure to end hunt". CTV News. 20 June 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Missing treasure hunter's remains found in New Mexico". BBC News. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Tragic end to months-long search for treasure hunter Randy Bilyeu". CBS News. July 27, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  16. ^ "Batavia man who died in Yellowstone in 2017 was looking for treasure". Associated Press. 20 February 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  17. ^ Roberts, Michael (June 19, 2017). "Body Found May Be Paris Wallace, Latest Coloradan Seeking Forrest Fenn Treasure". Westword. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  18. ^ "Pastor dies in search for famous hidden treasure". CBS News. June 19, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  19. ^ "Body found in Arkansas River in Colorado confirmed as treasure hunter Eric Ashby". ABC KRDO News. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  20. ^ Amanda Proença Santos (July 31, 2017). "Forrest Fenn Treasure Hunt May Have Claimed Its Third Victim". nbcnews.com.
  21. ^ The Lure. 2017.

External links[edit]