The Golden Owl Treasure Hunt

Regis Hauser buried the Golden Owl Treasure somewhere in France
Régis Hauser, also known by his writing pseudonym, “Max Valentine”

In April 1993, Régis Hauser, a French writer from Sarreguemines in north-eastern France, created a 33-pound, solid gold and silver, diamond-eyed statue of an owl in flight. Shortly thereafter, he buried a small bronze replica at a location known only to himself.   Hauser died in 2009 without revealing the artefact’s location. However, the golden owl treasure hunt, which read like the plot of an Indiana Jones movie, persists to this day.

One month after burying the statuette, Hauser published On The Trail of the Golden Owl, under the pseudonym Max Valentin. The clues in the book, claimed Hauser, are a literary treasure map. To claim the golden owl, all you must do is study the eleven riddles that pinpoint its precise location. The finder receives the prize of the original sculpture, currently held by Hauser’s estate. 


The golden owl hidden somewhere in France
This 33-pound golded owl sculpture awaits the person who cracks the final clues.
On the Trail of the Golden Owl, by Regis Hauser, AKA Max Valentin

The Treasure Hunt Has Inspired Thousands

In the preceding years, the golden owl treasure hunt has inspired tens of thousands of people to explore France in search of this valuable hidden treasure.

Hauser initially estimated the owl would be discovered within a few months to a year of the book’s release. Nearly three decades later it remains unsolved. Alas, the author is no longer around to help. But those entrusted with the golden owl’s location, including Hauser’s family and his lawyer, maintain it’s not a hoax, and that somewhere out there still lies an unclaimed fortune. You could start by buying Hauser’s book. However, at this point, the information, including the clues and most of the solutions are all over the internet.



 Start with the internet. Over time, the golden owl treasure hunt has spawned a vast community of treasure hunters, along with thousands of forums, essays, guides, photos, videos, annotated maps,  blogs, forums, and stories of others attempts to locate the prize. This is the logical place for would-be treasure hunters to begin.


Clue Number 2 from the "On The Trail of the Golden Owl" Book
Clue Number 2 from the “On The Trail of the Golden Owl” Book


Over time, golden owl netizens have come together and pooled their ideas. There is now general agreement regarding the majority of the puzzles. For example, they all concur that the first riddle alludes to the wavelength of different colors, and spells out the order in which subsequent riddles should be tackled.  From there, there are ten more clues to crack, all of which have been pored over, and in most cases solved.


Clue Number 3 from Max Valentine's book
Clue Number 3 from the “On The Trail of the Golden Owl” Book


Golden Owl Treasure Hunt: The Super Solution

Finally, there is a 12th hidden clue composed of leftover elements of the previous 11, which pinpoints the treasure’s precise location. To the frustration of the golden owl treasure hunting community, there remains a few sticking points that have thwarted progress. If you wish to claim the prize, it’s these areas you must focus on. Details of which can be found online


An unidentified town in mainland France, the exact location of which is known only to Hauser’s family and his lawyer. Before his passing, Hauser confirmed he visited the burial site and noticed signs of nearby digging, meaning  somebody has come close to locating the owl. At this point, volumes have been written about the treasure’s potential location. Among the thousands of pointers, some of the most prominent include:

  • The golden owl is on public land.
  • Extreme weather conditions notwithstanding, the location is permanently accessible.
  • The golden owl is more than 50 m from any man-made construction.
  • The statue is more than 60 miles from the coastline.
  • It is at a lower altitude than the French Alps snowline.
  • It is not buried on an island.
  • The author ruled out the Elysée, the Palais Brogniart, the Bourbon Palace,  Matignon, the Senate,  and Ginette’s bar in Mourmelon as locations.

The golden owl treasure hunt has consumed lives. Golden owl hunters range from garden variety fanatics, arrested for digging empty holes in private wine vineyards, through to a man who was forcibly admitted to a mental hospital after firebombing a chapel in the false belief the owl was buried underneath. 


In 1993, the golden owl was estimated at 150,000 Euros.  At the time of writing, its estimated value is around ten times that amount.  Furthermore, the finder will get credit for having cracked the world’s longest-running, officially verified treasure hunt.


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