Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Fairy tale clues lead man to treasure token

Samantha Critchell Associated Press

A Pittsburgh man is the first treasure hunter to decipher the clues in the book “A Treasure’s Trove: A Fairy Tale About Real Treasure for Parents and Children of All Ages” to redeem a $25,000 prize.

Jake Polterak, 35, found the clue, hidden as a token, on May 22 at the Rickets Glen State Park near Red Rock, Pa., a 4 1/2 -hour drive from his home.

The token’s prize is an 18-karat gold dragonfly decorated with diamonds and sapphires.

Author and publisher Michael Stadther personally hid 12 tokens redeemable for one-of-a-kind jewels with a combined value of $1 million in public places around the country. The jewels represent the 12 forest creatures featured in the fairy tale.

Polterak, a computer consultant, had been reading “A Treasure’s Trove” with his 4-year-old daughter, Allie.

“Once I found the token, I couldn’t believe how easy it was,” he said. “The clues were so accurate!”

There is Internet chatter that three other tokens are “missing” from their hiding spots but Stadther’s spokeswoman said those claims have yet to be verified.

To find one of the jewels, readers have to follow clues in the book that lead to a gold token. The token gives the information needed to get the jewel. The tokens are hidden throughout the continental United States.

“I wanted the hunt to be accessible, and be a learning experience, one that would encourage puzzle-solving, reading and exploring,” Stadther said.

“It took me eight years to figure out how to hide the treasure, yet not bury it, and not put it in dangerous places or on private property.”

The book had been ranked No. 2 on The New York Times best-seller list for children’s paperbacks earlier this year and was No. 1 on Publisher’s Weekly’s best-seller list for children’s picture books.

Treasure Trove Inc., Stadther’s publishing company, has sold film rights to Cruise/Wagner in association with Paramount Pictures.