Hidden box of silver coins send Bellingham residents on a treasure hunt

Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

While many were scrambling to finish up shopping and preparing for Christmas last weekend, a determined group of folks put on their walking shoes and went outside for an impromptu treasure hunt.

RB Wick, owner of Bellingham Coin Shop and Irongate Estates, was at it again, placing a box full of silver coins in Bellingham and dropping clues on Facebook and Instagram about where it was hidden. Wick did something similar last Easter, hiding gold and silver coins inside hundreds of plastic eggs around Bellingham.

The silver coins in the box, which are worth around $1,000, were hidden by Wick on Saturday night. As more clues were posted and shared, more residents became intrigued and joined the hunt. It wasn’t until Sunday night when Chris Jefferson and his sister, Teena Burdette, found the treasure in the Barkley District.

Wick said in an interview Monday with The Bellingham Herald that he had recently donated some items for people in need and decided to do something that was fun for the community. Waiting for someone to find the treasure turned out to be just as fun for him, as people sent him updates as well as pictures of wildlife they had spotted during the hunt.

“I thought it would be fun having people literally looking for a box of treasure,” Wick said, adding that it seemed to bring out the childlike spirit in a lot of adults.

Finding the treasure was no easy task. When it still hadn’t been found on Sunday afternoon, Wick posted one final clue that seemed to be clincher. The clue was “what does a dog do,” prompting dozens of people to descend on the Barkley Village area.

That final clue put Jefferson and Burdette hot on the trail for the silver. They were in the Barkley area Sunday evening, noting that many people with flashlights were zeroing in on a neighborhood dog area. They took a closer look at the previous clues, which led them to some logs just off Barkley Boulevard near the golf driving range. Jefferson found it there while his sister was nearby.

“The clues really helped, but it did take some detective work,” said Jefferson, who previously did the Easter egg hunt but didn’t find anything. This time they went with their instincts, saying it felt like the treasure pulled them to the spot.

Jefferson said in an interview with The Herald that while it took a few hours to find the treasure, it was a nice bonding experience with his sister, who lives on the same block in the Columbia neighborhood. They plan on splitting the loot.

Wick posted a video Sunday night of the winners on Facebook, which had thousands of views in the first 12 hours, an indication of how many people were interested in the outcome.

Wick said he had so much fun with it that residents should expect more treasure hunts next year. Easter is definitely on the list, but there could be other adventures that pop up.

“I keep asking myself if I’m ever going to grow up,” Wick said with a chuckle, adding that people should keep their walking shoes nearby.

Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.