clearn.png
Thursday March 4th, 2021 10:06PM

Art dealer whose treasure sent hunters scouring US West dies

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Antiquities dealer and author Forrest Fenn, who gained fame after hiding a treasure chest filled with gold, jewels and other valuables that drove hundreds of thousands of people to search remote corners of the U.S. West for the riches — sometimes with tragic consequences — has died. He was 90.

Police confirmed Fenn died Monday of natural causes at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Police spokesman Greg Gurule said Tuesday that officers were alerted that afternoon and that more information would be released as it becomes available.

It was only in recent months that Fenn announced his treasure had supposedly been found in Wyoming by someone he didn't name. Fenn said he hid the loot 10 years ago in the Rocky Mountains and dropped clues to its whereabouts in a poem published in his 2010 autobiography.

Fenn had said he packed and repacked his bronze treasure chest for more than a decade, sprinkling in gold dust and adding hundreds of rare gold coins and gold nuggets. Pre-Columbian animal figures went in, along with prehistoric “mirrors” of hammered gold, ancient Chinese faces carved from jade and antique jewelry with rubies and emeralds.

He had always said he hid the treasure as a way to tempt people to get into the wilderness and give them a chance to launch an old-fashioned adventure and expedition for riches.

The treasure spurred an almost a cult-like following — many people quit their jobs to dedicate themselves to the search. Others depleted their life savings, and some people died searching for it. Law enforcement officers in New Mexico and elsewhere had asked Fenn to call off the hunt, saying people were putting themselves in danger to find the valuable haul.

Fenn rebuffed those requests, saying it wouldn't be fair to those who spent time and money looking for the treasure chest.

He tried to narrow the scope for treasure hunters, repeatedly saying the 40-pound (18-kilogram) chest was neither in a dangerous location nor one where an old man couldn’t schlep it alone. But plenty of searchers forgot, disregarded or didn’t hear about that promise of accessibility.

After announcing that the riches had been found, Fenn had mixed feelings, saying he was a bit sad that the chase was over.

“I congratulate the thousands of people who participated in the search and hope they will continue to be drawn by the promise of other discoveries,” he posted on his website earlier this summer.

A self-described schmoozer and endless flirt who reveled in endless emails from treasure hunters, Fenn's idea to stash some of his favorite things began years earlier when he was diagnosed with cancer and given just a few years to live.

In his book “The Thrill of the Chase,” he laid out his unusual rags-to-riches story while sharing memories of his favorite adventures and mischief-making. The book said the recollections were as true as one man could average, considering that one of his natural instincts was to embellish.

Fenn was raised in Temple, Texas, where his father was a school principal. His family spent the summers in Yellowstone National Park, where he and his brother honed their sense for adventure.

Fenn spent nearly two decades in the Air Force, including his decorated service as a fighter pilot in Vietnam.

After returning to Texas, he, his wife and two daughters moved to Santa Fe, where, over time, he became one of this artistic enclave's best-known and most successful gallery owners.

As an art dealer, he hosted a virtual who's who of the rich and famous at his gallery and guest house, including Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange and Michael Douglas, to name a few. Even in his 80s, he was known for throwing parties.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Chipping in? Trump may put up his own cash on reelection
President Donald Trump is putting out the word that he is considering spending as much as $100 million of his own fortune on his reelection effort as campaign officials try to buck up key supporters and donors in the face of daunting polling numbers and other bad news
3:25PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Technology stocks keep stumbling; Nasdaq down 9% in 3 days
Big tech stocks are continuing their Icarus-like flight path, and more sharp declines for them are dragging Wall Street toward a third straight loss on Tuesday
3:19PM ( 28 minutes ago )
GM to make electric vehicle, supply batteries for Nikola
General Motors formed its second major electric vehicle partnership in less than a week, this time a $2 billion deal with startup Nikola
3:15PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
New this week: 'Cuties,' 'Unpregnant' and fresh 'Jeopardy!'
This week’s new entertainment releases includes the return of “Jeopardy!”
12:58PM ( 2 hours ago )
Andrew Lloyd Webber warns arts 'at point of no return'
“The Phantom of the Opera” composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has told British lawmakers that the arts are “at the point of no return,” and urged the government to set a date for theaters to be allowed to reopen
11:45AM ( 4 hours ago )
Coronavirus shutdown threatens Mexico's storied dance halls
The Salon Los Angeles has been crowded every weekend since 1937 with couples twirling on the dance floor to mambo, chachacha, salsa and danzon
10:03AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Belarus activist resists effort to deport her to Ukraine
A leading opposition activist in Belarus is being held after she resisted attempts by to deport her to Ukraine as part of a crackdown on protests of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko
3:00PM ( 47 minutes ago )
McConnell proposes 'targeted' virus aid, Dems say not enough
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote on a trimmed-down Republican coronavirus relief package, though it has a slim chance of passage in the face of Democrats’ insistence for more sweeping aid
2:34PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump claims environmental progress, but he's weakened rules
President Donald Trump is out to claim the mantle of environmental steward as he highlights conservation and restoration projects in the critical battleground of Florida
2:32PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Chipping in? Trump may put up his own cash on reelection
President Donald Trump is putting out the word that he is considering spending as much as $100 million of his own fortune on his reelection effort as campaign officials try to buck up key supporters and donors in the face of daunting polling numbers and other bad news
3:25PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Technology stocks keep stumbling; Nasdaq down 9% in 3 days
Big tech stocks are continuing their Icarus-like flight path, and more sharp declines for them are dragging Wall Street toward a third straight loss on Tuesday
3:19PM ( 29 minutes ago )
GM to make electric vehicle, supply batteries for Nikola
General Motors formed its second major electric vehicle partnership in less than a week, this time a $2 billion deal with startup Nikola
3:15PM ( 33 minutes ago )
California fires bring more chopper rescues, power shutoffs
Helicopters are rescuing more people from the California wildfires as flames chew through bone-dry terrain after a scorching Labor Day weekend
3:13PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Computer glitches disrupt classes as schools return online
The millions of American youngsters returning to online classes on Tuesday are facing technical glitches and other headaches that have plagued remote learning since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic
3:11PM ( 36 minutes ago )