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$1 million treasure chest found in Rocky Mountains after 10-year search

Famed antiquities collector Forrest Fenn hid the treasure more than a decade ago to give people a chance to launch an old-fashioned adventure.

WASHINGTON — A bronze chest filled with gold, jewels, and other valuables worth more than $1 million hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains has been found. 

Famed art and antiquities collector Forrest Fenn, 89, 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.  

A number of people lost their lives over the years in search of the hidden treasure, which was thought to be located somewhere along the Rio Grande in New Mexico. 

But now, the hidden loot has finally been found. 

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported the news Sunday saying millionaire Forrest Fenn told the paper by phone "it's true," and said the chest with the valuables was found "a few days ago" in the wilderness. 

"The guy who found it does not want his name mentioned. He’s from back East," Fenn said. The location of the chest was confirmed by a photograph from the man who found it. 

Thousands became obsessed with trying to find the loot. Fenn posted clues to the treasure’s whereabouts online and in a 24-line poem that was published in his 2010 autobiography “The Thrill of the Chase.”

Credit: AP
Forrest Fenn sits in his home in Santa Fe, N.M. on Friday, March 22, 2013. For more than a decade, the 82-year-old claims he has packed and repacked a treasure chest, sprinkling in gold dust and adding hundreds of rare gold coins, gold nuggets and other artifacts, and buried it in the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe. (AP)

The antiquities dealer made headlines as he declined to give many clues about the location of the goods only saying, "it's out there, it's waiting for someone."

Fenn, an 89-year-old Vietnam veteran, antiquities dealer and author, published some clues to the location of the wealth in a book he wrote called "The Thrill of the Chase."

Now that it has been found, Fenn says, "I don’t know, I feel halfway kind of glad, halfway kind of sad because the chase is over."  

Fenn, who said that nearly 350,000 people reportedly went hunting for the treasure, hoped the stunt would get more people outside and enjoying the wilderness. 

In March, CBS reported that two Colorado men, 58 and 65, died while searching for the chest on rented snowmobiles. "What happened was tragic," Fenn said of the losses via email. The two men were from Deer Trail and Thornton, Colorado.

There were reports of calls for Fenn to call off the search in the wake of the tragedies. 

The millionaire told The New Mexican in 2017 that the chest and its contents weighed about 44 pounds, and said he delivered the chest to its hiding place on his own, during two separate trips. 

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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