We did not have “buried treasure quest” on our 2020 apocalypse bingo card, but here we are with shovels, bags packed and nothing to lose.
A Macomb County jeweler and his wife have opted to bury a crap ton of gold, silver, diamonds, rare coins, and jewelry throughout both of Michigan's peninsulas — rather than, you know, sell off their inventory and retire the old fashioned non-pirate way.
Johnny Perri and his wife Amy have decided to clear out their shop of 23-years, J&M Jewelers, after facing several months of temporary COVID-19 related closure and the subsequent financial strain it placed on the family-owned business.
“I said, Amy, we can take everything out and retire or we can bury it across the state of Michigan,” Perri told Michigan's Fox-2. Perri says opting to bury his fortune was inspired by restlessness and his and Amy's outdoor adventures, which helped him realize he wasn't completely fulfilled by his work. The treasure quest isn't just for fun, but is an alternative retirement plan, as the cost to register per hunt is $50. It's also a story to tell.
According to Perri, he and his wife “went through waterfalls” and streams and did a lot of kayaking to hide their treasure, which means the likelihood of finding a big ol' diamond sitting on a street corner is pretty slim. Or is it? On the quest's website, JohnnysTreasureQuest.com, Perri explains that hunters “will literally be unearthing physical, real treasure from the ground with the exception that I did not hide it in the ground but it could be hanging from a tree (for example).”
The couple has selected dozens of locations throughout Michigan, some of which are personally significant to their lives, starting with two 100-ounce bars of pure .999 silver hidden somewhere in Oakland County, worth an estimated $4,200.
Starting at 10 a.m. on Aug. 1, registered hunters can begin their search. Those who register to track down those first silver bars have the option to either keep the silver or have Perri buy it back from them. September's hunt will include more silver bars, Walking Liberty coins, Buffalo coins, Prospector coins, and some random silver coins, while future hunt details will be released at a later date.
After registering, hunters will have access to updates, clues, riddles and maps. Oh, and each treasure has a GPS device attached so they'll know if you've found it and/or tampered with the hunt before it begins, but they ask that hunters leave it behind or contact Perri directly to retrieve the devices.
The quest description also asks people not to destroy property or “dig up the town,” and to trust the clues. In true swashbuckling fashion, Perri says “X” will always mark the spot.
The jeweler also says the process was a bonding experience for him and his wife and hopes it can serve as a positive distraction for those who chose to embark on the journey themselves.
“Giving people adventure is giving them something to believe in again, besides this COVID crap,” Perri told Fox.
For more information on specific hunts or registration, visit JohnnysTreasureQuest.com.