by Mary Caperton Morton Thursday, January 29, 2015
The contents of Forrest Fenn’s chest are not completely known, but Fenn has listed enough of the treasure to make the hunt truly tantalizing: 20 troy pounds of gold coins, gold nuggets the size of a man’s fist, pre-Columbian Incan and Mayan animal figures, a 17th-century Spanish gold-and-emerald ring, a bracelet with more than 250 rubies, diamonds and Ceylon sapphires, and two hand-carved Chinese jade masks.
The Fenn treasure has been valued between $1 million and $2 million and the chest itself — a 12th-century Roman lockbox made of sculpted bronze — has been said to be worth about $35,000. But perhaps the most valuable trinket in the chest is a modest turquoise and silver bracelet that Fenn has offered to buy back from whomever finds the treasure.
In 1888, on the day the rancher-turned-archaeologist Richard Wetherill discovered Mesa Verde — the stunning cliff dwelling complex in southwest Colorado — he picked up 22 small turquoise beads. He later had the beads fashioned into a bracelet by a Navajo silversmith and wore it for many years before selling it to the entrepreneur Fred Harvey. Fenn later won the bracelet in a game of billiards with one of Harvey’s heirs. “The bracelet fits me perfectly and I wore it many times,” Fenn says. “It is special to me, and that’s why I put it in the chest. I wanted some of me to be part of the treasure.”
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