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.