$20,000 Hidden Treasure Is up for Grabs in the US: Here's How to Find It

A Maine couple came up with a unique way to celebrate the state's 200th anniversary. Kurt and Kelly Stokes hid $20,000 somewhere in the state to inspire visitors to visit different parts of Maine. They called the venture Maine's Dirigo Treasure, a reference to the state's motto, "Dirigo," Latin for "I lead." Players have to start their journey by buying a deck of cards from Dirigo Treasures LLC, which leads them to specific locations throughout Maine to discover more clues.

“We created the game to celebrate Maine’s 200 years of statehood," Kurt, a grant accountant at the University of Southern Maine's Research Service Center, told the Lincoln County News last week. “What better way to celebrate Maine than to get people out of the house, out of their town, and exploring parts of the state they never knew existed?” Kurt and Kelly, the director of special services for the Central Lincoln County School System, built their game after exploring the state for three years.

After acquiring the Dirigo Treasures game cards, players can begin their quest by identifying the image on each cart. They have to travel to the location to find the next visual clue. Once they get all the clues, the Dirigo code in the game manual will reveal the seven Dirigo stones, which were spread throughout the state. The winner who fines all seven will receive $20,000 in cash or cash equivalent.

Some of the locations are well-known, but the Kellys also highlighted some hidden gems in Maine. "We want players to explore the unique scenery of Maine, from its rushing rivers to green forests and towering mountains," Kurt explained to the Lincoln County News. “We designed the game to be geographically and historically diverse.” He also noted there were no "strenuous physical challenges" or anything that would put someone's safety in danger. They said the game is legal and environmentally responsible.

The Kellys planned to start the game on March 15, 2020 but delayed it until Dec. 1 because of the pandemic. They hoped the delay means people bought the cards during the holiday season and plan to visit Maine during the warmer months to find the treasure. He said over 200 copies of the game have already been sold. The game is available as a standard-sized deck of cards for $19.99 or as a pack of larger-sized flashcards for $39.99 at the Dirigo Treasures website. The couple is donating $1 for each game sold to the Maine Cancer Foundation and Maine Rivers. The first printing of the cards has already sold out, but the company said on Facebook it hopes to get a second printing out by May.