The greatest treasure hunt in modern history ended two years ago, but the pursuit isn’t over if you’re willing to pay.
Earlier this week, Heritage Auctions announced that 476 items from the famed Forrest Fenn treasure are up for sale. Heritage Auctions acquired the treasure from Tosuro Sagrado Holdings, LLC, who purchased it from the finder, Jack Stuef.
We’ve covered Fenn’s treasure extensively at MeatEater. On June 8, 2020, we announced that Fenn’s treasure was found. On June 22, 2020, we shared some of the first photos of the treasure available to the public. On July 8, 2020, we went over the four best theories on the treasure’s location. On November 9, 2020, we recorded a podcast with Fenn expert Benjamin Wallace. On December 8, 2020, we covered the identity of the finder. And on May 13, 2022, we wrote about how the location of the treasure was revealed. For a refresher on the timeline of events, read this piece.
The highlights of the auction include a 1-pound gold nugget, 1500-year-old Tairona necklace made of gold and stone, 1000-year-old Diquis frog pendant made of gold and copper, and 20,000-word autobiography sealed in a glass jar. The enormous golden nugget has the highest bid at $18,000, while the cheapest items are grams of gold dust that have been bid up to $28 as of publishing this.
Some of the relics that won’t come up for auction include the treasure chest and dragon bracelet, which Tosuro Sagrado Holdings, LLC has chosen to keep. It was believed the treasure was worth about $2 million, but it’s unclear what Stuef’s price tag was.
It’s not a surprise that the Fenn treasure made it to market. Ever since Stuef’s identity was revealed, he said he planned to sell it. “Alas, I’m a millennial and have student loans to pay off, so it wouldn’t be prudent to continue to own the Fenn Treasure,” Stuef wrote in a 2020 blog post.
Still, the treasure-hunting community is torn on this being the conclusion of the decade-long search. Some are frustrated the bounty is being split up and sold, as one of Fenn’s last wishes was that it’d end up in a public place. Others aren’t even convinced Stuef is the genuine finder—there are unfounded accusations that he was hired by Fenn to retrieve the treasure. And then there are those like me, who just hope to purchase a gram of gold dust to commemorate the adventure.
The auction ends on December 12, 2022.