Gold is the Skin of the Gods…

by forrest fenn

Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian. 



egyptpyramid7This 12 inch gilded wooden figure is Ibis, the sacred bird of Thoth, the god of wisdom. His hair is inlaid blue Faience, the first glass ever intentionally produced by man. He dates to 7th – 6th century BC, and his beak and scepter are of bronze. He’s not supposed to be carrying a scepter, but there it is. Hmmm. Sometimes it’s the aberration of an object that wets the wits of a collector.


Thoth was one of the main deities in Egyptian mythology. He’s depicted here as a man with the head of an Ibis. Thoth maintained the universe, and moderated disputes between good and bad to make sure neither gained an advantage. He invented hieroglyph, the Egyptian system of writing.

Many years ago a trader friend named Consuela asked me to go to her room in the La Fonda hotel. She wanted to show me something in private and promised I would buy it. That was a new sales pitch for me and I said okay. After we enjoyed a cold Coors she unwrapped this beautiful Thoth figure and placed it on a table in front of me. I knew exactly what it was and instantly dreaded that she would ask more for it than I could afford to pay. I was enthralled, and reminded myself that a man in the desert dying of thirst might pay a million dollars for a glass of water.

When Consuela started playing Eddy Arnold’s “What’s He Doing in My World” on her wind-up, Victor-Victrola record player, I relaxed a little. It was a good omen because that’s a song Peggy and I used to like when we were in high school.

Consuela said the ancient Egyptians believed that gold was the skin of the gods and that Thoth was so strong that the sun couldn’t shine without his permission. “His power will keep you young,” she promised. I wondered if some of her talk was salesmanship but it had long been my belief that I was aging by mistake.

After two more beers and a call to my banker, I purchased this beautiful gilded figure from Consuela for a price no one thought was fair but me, and Consuela of course. Thank you Eddy Arnold, wherever you are.

PS, It appears that Consuela’s prophecy may not be working.

125 thoughts on “Gold is the Skin of the Gods…

    • Thanks for an exceptional art history trip to Egypt Forrest. I flew WikiSpedia Air Lines.

      It was enjoyable learning about how Faience, the first glass was crafted by the artisans 1000’s of years ago. So rare, it was considered a precious stone and used in place of lapis lazuli.

      The symbolism embedded in blue glazing could recall both the Nile, the waters of heaven and the home of the gods, whereas green could possibly evoke images of regeneration, rebirth and vegetation.

      • Rick, was Hermes the beloved son of Zeus? I don’t remember Greek mythology, but once owned a beloved Hermes hand bag that would look great with a dragon coat bracelet.

          • @Rick – I clean up alright, but love the beauty of the great outdoors and Creation far more than things man creates. Enjoy your weekend Rick.. hope you are somewhere fun searching for the TC.

  1. Sounds like Consuela understood winning at life means living by the ‘Golden Rule’
    It would be interesting to know the historical provenance of the statue and which Egyptian kingdom ruled when the first glass was crafted.

  2. Things from the past always draw my interest, years ago I had the pleasure of seeing a statue that Napoleon Bonaparte had bought for his wife. I was so inthralled with it that without thinking or reading the little brass plaque on the wall above it ( do not touch ). I reached out and touched it for a moment and my mind wandered back in time. When I seen the plaque I sheepishly looked around to see that no one had even noticed.

    I believe that one can only have a true respect for the past after they hold something from a different time in their hands. I guess that is why I collect coins from time to time.

  3. God, Forrest. Eddy was a great early singer. I enjoyed listening to him. He had such a mature voice. Thanks for the memory.

  4. Someone once said the best part of the Daffodil was the smell. And I quite agree. For to see with the eyes is to miss the savour of the depths of the beauty that’s within.

    The bible says that no man has seen God at any time and lived; but I have seen Him with my heart, I have witnessed the true character of who He is and I have seen His great love and mercy.

    I thank God for you Forrest Fenn because I have seen what that stupid old mirror could never see in you, and thousands more see it too. = )

  5. Thank you for sharing that piece about Thoth and the photo and story that went with it, appreciate all you do very much

  6. Another stunning piece from your collection and another bit of knowledge about ancient Egypt I learned today. I can see why you wanted this wonderful statue. The God of Wisdom, that’s what I need to help solve the poem. 🙂

  7. Thank you Mr. Fenn for sharing your stories and collection with us. You have mentioned there is an atique ladies gold dragon coat bracelet containing 254 rubies, plus other stones as part of the contents of the chest.
    Is there a chance you could share the history of the bracelet with us?
    Thank you. Don

  8. I think people are missing a big picture to this. With the vast collection Forrest has and I think the items picked have hidden clues or the stories do. Some of his last stories holds alot clues for me so thank you Forrest Fire.

    • Yes thank you Forrest , The figure ibis is very interesting to say the least. You have a collection by comparison of some of the most interesting by far. I have seen some of these figures elsewhere but yours have the most detail I have seen.

    • William, I don’t think most people are missing the big picture at all. We just don’t like to talk about how any of it fits into our solution. 🙂

  9. Yes they may contain clues but its up to us to figure out if they are useful. If you follow every possible one, you will be chasing your own tail. 🙂

  10. Lovely Forrest. Aging by mistake 🙂 What’s he doing in my world? Oh don’t let me keep on wondering just what you’re gonna do. I’m right here.

  11. “What’s He Doing In My World?” by Eddie Arnold was released in 1965. Forrest and Peggy were 34 years old. Most Victrolas date from 1915-1928. Yeah there is some aging and some mistakes. Nice story, don’t get me wrong. Trying to figure out what f is pointing at in this one is harder for me than 84. That one was easy.

  12. “I did not know that mankind were suffering for want of gold. I have seen a little of it. I know that it is very malleable, but not so malleable as wit. A grain of gold will gild a great surface, but not so much as a grain of wisdom.” – from “Life Without Principle” (1863) by Henry David Thoreau who was commenting on the California Gold Rush (1848-1855)

    I wonder if Thoreau would change his tune if he knew about the TTOTC. I suspect he would be a searcher himself, maybe he would even consider leaving Walden Pond to look for the chest? When gold and wisdom are in concert you have something rare.

    Since I have the same birthday (July 12th) as Thoreau I must do us both a favor and keep trying. As Forrest has said previously, “Comfort comes from where you find it.”

    • 23Kachinas…
      I am reminded by this scrap book that INTEGRITY always MATTERS. It’s a nice lesson I believe Forrest and Peggy are illuminating for those chasing dreams of treasure. I appreciate their wisdom which mirrors that of my own parents.

      It was worth my time to read/reflect on Thorough’s essay referenced, and several others this morning. Perhaps Forrest modeled his life after Thorough for a time as similarities were prevalent.

  13. Thoth is an interesting word because it begins and ends with TH. TTOTC begins with TH. Maybe its ending has something to do with TH too.

  14. Reminds me of Johnny Cash…
    “And somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringing and it echoed through the canyon like the disappearing dreams of yesterday.”

    • John R – reminds me of another fun quote from an old country star…

      “There is a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go.”
      —Tennessee Williams

        • Or maybe this one… (still trying to figure how you posted @ 9:38am and I didn’t get the email till 12:22pm – well after all the other comments)

          “There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.”
          ― Tennessee Williams

  15. Cool scrapbook Mr. Fenn, Very soul searching and sort of spiritual. The statue is lovely. You need to have a major exhibit and let us all come see your homebound treasures!!! It would be a real treat for children, My son Cole would love to look and it would make us all think and consider another time and place!! It would be an honor for us all to get to see your finds and precious keepsakes of your life and time, not just the ones in your Lockbox hidden away. I love all of the Photos but as stated earlier in another comment, Touching things really brings it all home. Thank you for these rare looks into the past to help us understand the future…….

  16. Forrest, I’m having a picnic being in your world searching for the answers to the nine clues in your poem that leads to the end of your rainbow and the treasure. Your books and stories have opened many minds to a world that once was.

    We are all chasing contentment in one form or another and you have provided a way for many to begin looking for it in “The Thrill of the Chase”.

    Thank you for giving us this ingenious quest.

    • Ritt – agree. ingenious and fun. His stories always lead to great pieces of literature, art, philosophy, history. I wonder how many others have the time or take it to enjoy those gifts offered. Generations alive now are so busy with life or out on their TC search 🙂

      • Indeed Nor, exactly where I have been the last 3 years. I enjoyed every minute of it. I would include science in that list if you got around to string theory. It was great fun, still is, I keep finding more to try and understand, like this artifact. Thanks Forrest ! 🙂

  17. Eddy Arnold’s What’s He Doing in My World was written when you were in your mid 30s Mr. Fenn. Maybe it was some other song, or you and Peggy were older when you listened to it.

  18. Forest a presentation, in serial format, of your wonderful treasures would be par excellent. Where’s the History Channel scouts? Question; Is Thoth always presented with one bird foot and is it always the left?

  19. I enjoyed reading about Ibis. One is stricken with giddiness when words from ff jump off of a page. I’m sure we all enjoy hearing from – f. Intermittent joy can be obtained from studying a member of a flock. Ibis looks birdlike to me. Study more until my next search, I will. Thanks for this scrapebook f. I, Slurbs, smile.

  20. Thoth sounds like Forrest…

    “Thoth maintained the universe, and moderated disputes between good and bad to make sure neither gained an advantage.”

    sounds like Forrest and the Battle of the Blogs/Bloggers 🙂

  21. Thanks Carolyn and Nor. I actually wrote that about a week ago when I was rather distraught over a post I had read on mysterious writings and after reading Mirror on my Wall.

    In one of my favorite interviews that Forrest had given, I remember when asked about his legacy, he had said if we had something nice to say about him that we should tell him while he’s alive. So I did. ; )

    – From Mysterious Writings:

    “Is the chest hidden in the (exact) same spot that you would like your bones to be found, or is it a short distance away for reasons beyond your control? ~ Phil

    The spot is the same, but in less than two months I’ll be 84 and that means many of the things to which I once aspired are no longer available to me. I still anticipate, but I may be unable to grasp such a transient pleasure before my trail shows signs of growing too weary for the journey. To make that success would be the boldest move I ever made and to that end I just want it all the more.f”

    • Ya, no worries Starlight; and be careful on your upcoming search. I’m still healing from a scrape, age doesn’t help, but I still love being a kid at heart and reaching for the stars. When I was quite young I used to reach my arms up to the sky and say, “pull me up God.” I wanted to dance on heaven’s starry floors. (those little lanterns in the sky)

      • Thanks nr. No plans to go out again, I’m pretty much stuck right now. I like that phrase, I believe I’ll adopt it 2!

        I understand about slow healing. I find that I do a lot better when I take 5K vit C a day for repairing. Also learned that without enough vit D minerals for building strong bones don’t get into the matrix.

        Have you watched Fat Sick and Nearly Dead? (It’s on Netflix) My recovery time/healing after working out is better and faster when I’m juicing greens.

        Well wishes to you on picking up new tidbits, looks fascinating but I still can’t quite wrap my mind around it all (I like trying though). I think I’ll always be a kid at heart.

        • Star, the Vitamin D and C information is just what I needed, easily understood; and specific to my health issues. Hoping the upcoming months post cancer will begin a turnaround. You are very kind to forward all. TY:-)

          • Anytime, I love to help folks when I can. You can email me if you’d like to talk more about it ; )

          • Starlight, it would be a blessing if you give me your email to talk over vegetable juicing and any other diet/nutritional tips for immune repair. So much info online it’s hard to know what actually helps. Thank you.

          • Jmbguidry, many thanks for your kindness! Will definitely follow up on health info.

          • jmbguidry a very dear friend of mine recovered well from an aggressive form of melanoma using the Gerson program (and lots of heartfelt prayer w some medical treatment 2). Her eyes returned to a deeper/brighter blue also!

            Have you watched F.S.and N.D. by Joe Cross? Well worth it – great info 2 give others. TY for sharing about the G program.

            nr, just click on my avatar, follow it to my profile and it will give you my email address. I’d love to talk with you. Hugs.

          • Starlight – no I have not watched it – but generally speaking I eat fairly healthy – always have. Only lately I have started to put the fat on because I am not as active as I was a couple years ago. Life situations changed things for me to make it hard to stay active. My husband is really trying to get us both going on the exercise. 🙂 My son is trying to get us juicing more than once a month.

  22. Thank you Mr. Fenn for sharing items in you collection. Your description and history of the items exceeds any class I attended in college. You have a gift f for writing that places me in the same room with you. Please continue to share with us.

  23. The bird made me think of the albatross I have around my neck. Mostly because of the guilt I feel for picking through these stories. The word scepter always reminds me of the Shakespeare sonnet – The Quality of Mercy. Please forgive my absurdity. Just needed to clear my head. Been reading about wood a lot lately. Hmmm. Need more water for the Tylenol.

    • Well, that has me in tears Joe. Very touching and true. Thank you so much for your gift to me by way of this poem.

    • Safety Joe, I hope you are better today, and remembering more about the Quality of Mercy than logs, slivers, wood etc. It’s such a beautiful sonnet that I posted it on the Poetry Page with your name.
      May we all be humbled in ways that will refine true mercy inside us so we can gently pour it out to others. Few have the gift of mercy. most of us have to be trained by our own misdeeds.

  24. Just a reminder that we have a story contest going on…
    Funny story about searching. 500 words or less.
    We have 11 entries right now.
    Don’t know what the prize will be but Forrest has generously offered to provide it.
    It probably won’t be a golden Thoth though…just guessing…

    Right now you can read the stories and comment on them and you have until the 10th of August to submit YOUR story if you haven’t done that yet.

    Once the contest is closed to entries on August 10th at noon, I will move all the stories to a new page where they can be easily found, read and voted on. Voting will be open for a few days and then we will announce the winner.

    Tell us a story!!

    • Pieces of 9, I award you the laugh of the day 🙂 You may now beat off Grizzlies with Ibis’s million dollar ‘stick’

  25. About the figure: I’m guessing (IMO) that the Djehuty (Thoth) ibis mask (with the weights hanging over the shoulders) is being worn by royalty, perhaps Pharaoh himself, while participating in a ceremony; this would explain the scepter.

    • Geoff, given your info on Thoth ibis representing royalty, I can’t begin to imagine the importance of the piece. Only important museums have such pieces. I hope Forrest hosts more “show & tell” for those of us who love antiquities.

  26. Thank you Mr. Fenn for that extremely interesting and overly rapid reply. The stories to me are sometimes more valuable than the item itself. The story brings intrigue into a lifeless bracelet.
    I think I have used up my share of question asking but maybe someday in the distant future you could address the history of your rose? colored persian rug.
    Some people may be envious of your success (like me) but for a man that started out with if I recall correctly less than $20,000 you have done very well.
    You all have a good day.


  27. Forrest,
    I am not mistaken I thought I heard you had once said that Mrs. Slone did not like bracelet and that was a contributing factor in how you received it. Is this not true?
    The Wolf

  28. JohnR, sometimes attempting to correct a misquote just ends up drawing unwanted attention to the issue and creates a bigger mess. One may have masterfully managed a situation only to see it crumble apart due to impatience. Bad, bad optics. Failure at any endeavor is best dealt with privately and in quiet. Best to let things quiet down, then one can bloody well do whatever one wants. Away from the worry of unwanted scrutiny. Everyone gets precisely what they want, and hopefully soon. Requires patience, something I often have a difficult time wrapping my arms around as I am a “gotta do it now, gotta fix it now ” type of person.

    • wd-
      Great advice. Most of us go by the adage “to the victor goes the spoils”. Having patience never feels like a good consolation prize.
      Something to work on I guess. Patience and keeping it simple are hard to do. Move Slow & Determined will be my new adage.

    • wd I think the personification of what you’ve described would be a lady whom I greatly admire for her incredible strength, wisdom, who enduring great personal struggles and trials remained graciously poised; the beautiful Jacklyn Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

      Patience maybe perceived by many as weakness but it’s a strength than few can attain to because it requires a great deal of self-sacrifice and disciple to do well. Love takes the sting away, and I agree it’s all in how we choose to look at it. Optics indeed. Thank you.

      Safety Joe,
      Your insight has also been a blessing to me. I prefer a win-win over a win lose every time and I seek to make that happen when I can, even at the cost of suffering hardships and loss; love will have that impact, and I wish it was more contagious, love that is.

    • WD – Patience is a great reminder to all. thought you might enjoy the words of Aurelius Clemens Prudentius A.D. 410 A Christian Roman Governor who tells of the fruits of the virtue Patience:

      Forbearance and endurance through moderation. Resolving conflicts and injustice peacefully, as opposed to resorting to violence. Accepting the grace to forgive;[3] to show mercy to sinners. Creating a sense of peaceful stability and community rather than suffering, hostility, and antagonism.

  29. Here’s a fun little game. Let’s see the generations involved in the chase. Everyone should give their ages and where you are. It will be pretty cool to see just how TTOTC has spread throughout time and space. lol

    I’m 35 and from Taxachusetts

    • I’m as old as brown dirt of the Rockies (53)…raised and play in the big sky state…and make my home the lone star state.

      fun game Rita!

        • Just began my 53rd year. Began life an AF brat in MI, Okinawa, TX, CA, GA, Germany, and HI, have lived over 30 years in the ‘real’ rocky mountain state CO

          • Kyote – Colorado is on a Rocky Mountain high.. but she doesn’t hold a candle to the Land of Shining Mountains and last best place! 🙂 Just kidding, the Rockies grace the west with unmatched rugged beauty everywhere.

        • jmbguidry – –

          So you are a cheesehead and a F.I.P. by birth. Saw that on a billboard driving thru Milwaukee
          “Faster than a F.I.P. driving to Door County!”

          Anyway, I’m a F.I.P. by birth, South Side Chicago.
          Escaped to Idaho Falls area, Idaho.
          57 on the outside, 16 on the inside.

          Alan M.

          • I escaped Illinois in 1974 and never looked back. You like the FIP!? I do occasionally get annoyed with them on the road – Hwy 12.

    • 60 years young living in California’s mother lode. Grew up in Michigan mostly but also lived in Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Florida.

  30. I’m 41 I live in Texas
    Sometimes I wonder why I live here . Colorado is beautiful and that’s where I search 🙂

  31. Have you given any though to how you would spend or steward the treasure if you find it?

    I’m a dreamer by night and day, so of course I’ve given it thought.
    First, I would give Dal the chest – he’s earned it and would know how to keep the chase going with a new treasure. Next, I would have my husband quit his suit/tie job and find a worthy cause he’s passionate about – still work, just a slower pace. Get more involved with Children’s charities; Lastly, if that golden hoard is worth $5mm then I would purchase Mike Kammerer’s New Mexico home, convert is to a museum or national heritage site, filling it with a collection like Forrest’s for the public to enjoy.

    So glad that Forrest spent his adult years collecting and conserving the finest of the American Frontier. Thomas Jefferson and Mrs. Kennedy would be really proud of all you’ve accomplished, including your service to our country Mr. Fenn

    • After I find the treasure I will work out a plan to make some dough (not much, just enough to ease the finances) by writing or selling my story for a book or movie or take the treasure on the road for a show and tell. Then I will give the treasure to an organization who agrees to make sure the treasure stays in one piece on permanent display somewhere for everyone to see and enjoy the “things” but most of all to keep the memory of this chase and the tale and the man who made it all possible alive forever. That would be my gift to Forrest but it also would be a gift to myself that I will derive immense pleasure from, more than the monetary value could ever possibly bring.

      • Fantastic idea Raven. Fly with that one if you are the lucky one! I’ll bet Mr. Fenn would derive pleasure from your reciprocated gift.

    • I don’t imagine it to be quite that much money, I guess (see ‘what is it worth’ page here).
      I still see it as a likely $800,000 treasure and the IRS is likely to take 40-50%. (If its more, that’s fine, but more requires inflating the value, and there’s no guarantee of that).
      So to me, 400-500K is not job-quitting money nor mansion-buying money, but I might pay off a modest mortgage or two. Plus, I promised to take a fraction of the net and I’ll divide it up into 10? new treasure hunts to keep the fun going.

      • Map, we both know that you are closer to the truth 🙂 but I told you, I’m a dreamer. From what I’ve read, the IRS will take that high of a percentage and looks like it must be paid w/in a year.

        • Yes, as in: 400K is not as much as the 3.1+M to buy the gorgeous mansion Nor was talking about. (Let alone enough to start a charity/foundation as it seemed to me she was describing.
          That said, I would be happy ! to be proven wrong though. The SS Central America shipwreck , recently in the news, contains gold eagles / double eagle coins like the ones FF has described, and some of those coins have recently gone for an AVERAGE of 6700 each… By my figuring, that’s 1.7M in coins alone in the TC ( if they value the same). But I prefer to stick to conservative/pessimistic estimates for now and not count the proverbial unhatched chicks. But hey, maybe backpacker magazine knows something we don’t , and it actual IS worth 8.75 times that!!! 😉

          • Map, I’m tracking with you fiscally, and live with rational, logical where dreams and fantasy exist only in novels. I have no illusions of finding the treasure or becoming wealthy. we have always had enough even when we were young and poor. By nature I’m content with or without material things. I was thinking that in my life it’s the times I don’t care too much (don’t give a rip) about winning that blessings come my way. Simple lessons, new friends, new awakening to poetry and much enjoyment being outdoors again after 3 years of mal health, reading history have been reward enough for me. (back to exercising)
            Enjoy your evening Map.

  32. It would sure be nice to buy a house in “Old Town”. I would give to family and a couple of our favorite local charities. BTW I am 39 and holding (for quite some time now!). Nor I like your way of thinking. To all searchers Dream Big!

    • And yet…word on the street is…”pecker head” is a real lady-pleaser. I don’t know how he does it, but I’ve heard him say, “Just follow my nose…it always knows!” On second thought…maybe his secret with the ladies is the scepter. 🙂

      Sorry if that seems x-rated. I was going for an “Arrrrr” rating…to keep with the “booty plundering” theme…if ya’ll can dig it.

  33. Even though we are all in the race to find Forrest’s treasure , sometimes it seems like I walk while others are running… Maybe I should take a short-cut , then I can enjoy the little things along the path before I sprint to the finish line….hummmm I think its a winter thing….. Thanks ” Thoth “

  34. The goddess Maat represents the ideals of law, order, and truth. The word, Maat translates “that which is straight.” it implies anything that is true, ordered, or balanced. She was the female counterpart of Thoth.

    We know she is a very ancient goddess because we find her in the boat of Ra as it rose above the waters of the abyss of Nu on the first day. Together with Thoth, they charted the daily course of the sun god Ra. She is sometimes called the ‘eye of Ra’ or the ‘daughter of Ra’.

    Maat also plays an important part in the Book of the Dead. It is in the Hall of Maat the judgement of the dead was performed. This was done by weighing one’s heart (conscience) against the feather of Maat. If a balance was struck the deceased was deemed to be worthy of meeting Osiris in the after life. If the heart of the deceased was found to be heavier then the feather of Maat it would be devoured by Ammut.

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