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The "da Vinci Challenge" has Begun!


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In looking at the picture of the mausoleum, I noticed that two of the squares are coloured in opposite each other...I'm probably fishing too much here but could it be that this symbolises 'The Last Supper' and "The Crucifixion' paintings that face each other in the refectory of the Santa Maria della Grazie. Ironically, 'The Crucifixion' does show knights in the painting, and a skull at the bottom. Interestingly, both were painted in the same time period.



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I for one appreciate your coins and efforts. Everyone knew from outset there might never be a full understanding. Marcus Vitruvius communicated with me after acquiring coins. We both agreed to continue trying to determine full meaning. Just this last week I checked out another book on Knights Templar because of interest created by this challenge. Thank you for relenting a bit with a few more suggestions. I intend to keep my coins as they represent one of the highlights of geocaching. We are going to use as instructional tools for a planned introduction to geocaching. Should you decide on production of another coin please sign me up. This challenge was priceless!!


Thanks for the kind words. You bring up a point that has been rattling around in my brain since the beginning of this whole thing: should I do a 4th coin? Obviously, from my prior posts, you can tell that my life is a bit chaotic right now, so it might take awhile, but I already have some preliminary sketches that I started over a year ago. I found myself holding back on my reply to M.V.'s post, because I didn't want to eliminate that option. However, the last thing I want is for people to think I'm just doing it to make a buck, and that it's not a sincere effort. So, I'll leave it to the people to decide. Let your voice be heard. If you'd like a 4th coin with additional clues to help solve the challenge, let it be known. Likewise, if you'd prefer that there not be a 4th coin, please do the same. If the good people of geocaching would like a 4th coin, I'll refine my sketches and get that ball rolling as time is available. If not, I'll keep my sketches to myself.


I look forward to your input.





I'm in !! Good to see yoy back, Dave. - springadv

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i had them out this week to show a friend who is rather good at making those tricky puzzle caches I need 104 hints to decode - no enlitenment forth coming. Shall we post the photos to the 'experts'? there are some excellent online puzzle head groups. eg. quest4treasure


ps which reminds me to mention link to trackablecoins.com pagementioned in post #104 is now DEAD and hirlas and i are getting another wiki started - I'll prioritise this coin so newbies who don't have a clue what they look like can help if someone can post me really good scans/photos please pretty please.


pps you'll have more luck i htink if you email the mint to email the designer with request

Edited by forthferalz
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On the webside stands:


The contest will end on July 20, 2007 at NOON, Mountain Standard Time. Entries after this time will not be considered in the distribution of prizes. However, you may continue to guess if you are bound and determined to solve this puzzle.
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The things that have had my attention are......the map of europe behind the vitruvian man.......obviously it's important.....but how? I've looked at where each of the V man's hands, feet and naval are located on the map, but none of the location are relevant to Leonardo. The other is the cipher of 31 letters. This looks to be a fairly straight forward cipher, but again I've had no luck with it. Also the phrases.......A Deep Red Route.......Do be mute......Nor us again......has been confirmed as an anagram......but are they each an anagram or do they all need to be combined together. Hope this gets some people thinking.

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IS there anyone who thinks that the anagrams could be in another language other than english.....in 4-5 months of searching, the best answer I can get for 'Do Be Mute' is 'Embed Out'. If it is another language, Italian would be the obvious choice, followed by Latin. In Italian, I get 'Tombe Due' which means 'Two Tombs' which sound s like something. Has anyone else looked at this option.

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Interesting observation with The Vitruvian Coin.....I hadn't noticed that before..not that I knew where the coins came from.....Still not sure whether it has anything to do with any part of the solution but it's interesting nonetheless. I have tried many combinations regarding the anagrams, but nothing of real value yet. Remember RD did mention that there is a clue to solving it on the coins somewhere, but I'm yet to discover that either. Maybe whatever location is meant to be represented on The Vitruvian Coin is the clue. Hmmm.


Thanks for the reply....It's good to know that there is at least one person out there that hasn't given up like the rest.


Cheers M.V.

Edited by Marcus Vitruvius
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Has anyone figured out the constellation that is on the Knights Templar coin? I remember RWD mentioning that it was important as well as the location of the two spears.


Yeah he mentioned that the position of the spears and the stars were definitely important, although he also said that one of them isn't quite a star, which it isn't....it looks more like a sun icon or generic icon.

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It´s a pitty that I haven´t started to geocache two years ealier. Now the Coins are sold out. But the challenge is just as well as having the coins.Well. After the hard work, slogging through this three sites, I want to put in my twopenn'orth. I´m from austria and speek german, so excuse my doggerel english.

First Point: I would say the vetruvian man is side-inverted. Does this metter? And is this a GPS-receiver in his hand?

Second Point: Has the Fleur de Lis any meaning?

Third Point: Arago could be a french scientist living in the 18-19 Century, or it could be the moon crater, or it could bee the crown of aragon, which existed in the middleage.

Fourth Point: The Templar coin. I would say: Follow the Knights End is the hint to observance the knights spears. Maybe we should start reading the special letters (marked by the stars) in a round. Or the top of them pointing un ST and the back on LU, may a hint is LUST, but i don´t think so. Something (I think) that hasn´t been mentioned [(is that the correct time? I´m not sure)], is that at one star one of the tines is pointing on the letters and the other stars, there are pointing two tines on the letters. so i would say one probable phrase is

MTVPIT or starting at the spears end: TMTVPI

Another thing i don´t unserstnad is, why is the one M of "MILITVM" diffrent to the others. on the original coin its too, i know. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templars



Sometimes the ciphers and letters were hard to read, so I´m happy that you confirmed them.

I´m also very happy that you are supporting the boy scouts. I´m a boy scout too in Austria.


Julius the medicine man

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I just checked the last time Redwing_Dave visited this thread, and it's been over a year now. I'm hoping he can find the time to make an appearance soon, considering he still logging caches recently. I don't mean to sound like an a**, but I would think at the very least he could drop in and say hi from time to time...I'm not angry, it's just a little disappointing as it only takes a minute to do so. Thanks to those who have contributed here.

Edited by Marcus Vitruvius
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I think so too. If he wants to take his riddle into the grave, it´s his choice. but if there are some cachers, like me, who are a littlebit late, it is a kind of pity! So not everybody really has the chance to solve. I can comprehend it, that he don´t likes to give hints until its solved. But he could give new ones the feeling, that the challenge hasn´t died.


But I think its nice, that redwing dave made the coins. So the real problem are the fans (like us) who demand, that he should look into this thread at least every day and answer all our questions.


Nice Greetz from Vienna

The Medicin Man

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Hi MV A sign! you need a sign? this one made it to europe from pennsylvania and is still on the road http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?id=1101337


Sorry no progress on the cyphers but I have redone the blessed wiki ( tada - what one can do when one's arthritis is CURED - if anyone wants a hint check out the vitamin D cure by j dowd ) and added some things to the Davinci coins page that might help people get started who do not have a clue eg. meself! http://trackablegeocoins.wetpaint.com


Images are hard to decypher unless you have seen them before eh? the screw press looks like a coffeepot :)


Should we just all email the caching place and quack " we want a clue/solution coin." It is going to have to be a very heavy hint Dave! They might do a small reprint as well depending on demand - 50 posts should do it - that would be 150 coins in sets + say 100 new ones?


I have emailed Jim Berk at info@thecachingplace.com and requested a courtesy call to his customers here.

Edited by forthferalz
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this is the first time i have come across this challenge, befor my caching days!!


i am interested to try and figure out the clues, but i dont have a printer so cannot do a clear set of the coins apart from zooming in and the picture on the website are very pixulated.


can someone post a good quality picture of each of the coins??



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Nice to have you on board. Just right click and copy or save the images at the start of this thread to your computer. From there you should be able to do what you like with them.




where are they linked from??


i only have internet at work and there firewall blocks all media sharing sites and links to and from them, all i have at the start of the thread are 2 red "X"


maybe they can be uploaded to the thread from another source " i can get picaseo" and as for me i always upload them to an archived cache on GC.com and link it here from there.



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Well, I must say that I'm more than a little embarassed about how long it has been since I lasted visited this forum. Since my last visit over 2 years ago, I got divorced, had a couple knee surgeries, got remarried, took up scuba diving, did some vacationing, did a lot of business travel, and was generally overworked at my job. In the words of the great BB King, "It's funny how time slips away". Sorry to keep you all waiting so long. I haven't been very involved in geocaching over the past few years, and I haven't even taken the time to log most of the caches I have found. Thus I haven't maintained my GC account very well. If you've been sending me emails, I probably haven't gotten them, since my GC.com account has been linked to an inactive email account. I will remedy this situation, but in the meantime, if you need to contact me, please use this email "dave dot peterson dot 19 at gmail dot com" - just remove the spaces and put in "." and "@" where applicable.


I've got to hand it to you all, you are a persistent bunch. Your persistance resulted in my return today. Someone from this forum tracked me down with some questions a few weeks ago, and since then I haven't been able to get the puzzle off my mind. I dusted off my da Vinci project folder and started reworking sections of the puzzle and contemplating where to go from here with this puzzle, and starting some initial work on a different puzzle that has thus far only been stored in the recesses of my brain. I'll have some questions for all of you in the near future regarding the direction you'd like me to take with the puzzle for the future. I respect your efforts, and want to involve you in the decision making process. But, before I start asking questions of you all, I'd like to make myself available to answer some of the questions that have been rattling around in your brains. Here's your chance....ask away. I'll drop in over the next few days to provide you with answers.


All the Best,


P.S. somebody made a nice observation regarding the placement of the Vitruvian man's navel over the map of Europe.

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Greetings all. I am brand-new to posting here, but I've been studying the thread for a little while. I just received my set of coins through an online auction, and I'm excited to start contributing to the community. I just hope I'm able to advance the discussion a little bit.


I had a thought within the first couple of minutes of receiving the coins that I wanted to share. The activation codes I received for each coin looked to me enough like real, non-English words (well, at least two of the three) to get me wondering whether they have anything to do with the solution. I won't post them here. The thing is, I have no idea whether the activation codes I was given were the same for anybody -- or everybody -- else. If everybody got the same codes, I would venture that it might be helpful to look into whether they actually mean anything in moving toward a solution.


I'd be happy to go into this a bit more fully through PMs, but I'm not sure activation codes should be posted in a public forum.


Thanks, everyone.



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Hey RD....It's been a while but glad you came back. I've made some observations I just wanted to get clarification on. I wrote some of these a while back.


In looking at the picture of the mausoleum, I noticed that two of the squares are coloured in opposite each other...I'm probably fishing too much here but could it be that this symbolises 'The Last Supper' and "The Crucifixion' paintings that face each other in the refectory of the Santa Maria della Grazie.


Also, the phrases.......A Deep Red Route.......Do be mute......Nor us again......has been confirmed as an anagram......but are they each an anagram or do they all need to be combined together?


As far as the cipher, I've had a few people look at it, and knowing it must be a polyalphabetic cipher, I'm just wondering how many steps are involved to solve it?



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@jsarche: I didn't have any input in the selection of activation codes, so unless there was some higher power at play, your activation code wouldn't hold any clues to the puzzle. That being said, I'm very interested to know what this mysterious activation code is. Once your coin is activated, the activation code should be safe to share.


@Vitruvius: It looks like you're the most diligent seeker in this mission. Thanks for hanging in there.

1st: Nice observation of the two filled squares in the mausoleum. Also nice observation in picking up that they face or oppose one another. These are important clues, but they are not a reference to the two paintings you referred to.

2nd: A deep red route, do be mute, and nor us again each works independently

3rd: I will confirm that the cipher requires multiple steps to decode. I'm not ready to disclose the number of steps required to decipher it. First, I feel that it gives away too much about the puzzle; second a nominal answer such as 2 or 3 alone may be misleading.


Hope this helps. I'll be watching for additional questions.



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Thanks, RD, I didn't know that about activation codes. I've already tried using them as keywords for some deciphering, but now I know I won't have to waste any more time with them. The three activation codes I got were:





The first two really looked promising to me. The third, not so much, but it still looked like it could have some meaning.


Back to the drawing board!




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RD, I'd have to agree with you on the disentombing project. Some mysteries are better left unsolved -- but definitely NOT the ones involving your geocoins!


I had a couple of questions for anybody watching this thread -- and feel free to bat me down if it's improper to ask these questions.


First, I've spent hours searching the web for a drawing or schematic or photo of the mausoleum at Santa Maria delle Grazie without any luck. Where can I find that? Second, and maybe I missed this, but how did the person who came up with St. Hubert's Chapel as a partial answer to the overall puzzle get that answer? I have been trying to use that to "reverse-engineer" ciphers on the coins, again without any luck.




Check out this link http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/leonardo-da-vinc...tory?id=9662394.


I personally think disentombing da Vinci to try and fulfill our own curiosities is going a bit to far. It kind of sickens me. What are your thoughts?

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First, I've spent hours searching the web for a drawing or schematic or photo of the mausoleum at Santa Maria delle Grazie without any luck. Where can I find that? Second, and maybe I missed this, but how did the person who came up with St. Hubert's Chapel as a partial answer to the overall puzzle get that answer? I have been trying to use that to "reverse-engineer" ciphers on the coins, again without any luck.


Those are two questions I've wondered about, too!


It has occurred to me that if you superimpose the knights' image onto the Vitruvian coin, the spears point to a detailed area on the map, that I think would be the Netherlands--the lines on the map are rivers, right? The line that disappears, then reappears, from behind V.M., is the Danube, for sure (almost).


Is it relevant that one of the anagram phrases--nor us again--has "Arago" in it? Arago in sun? Arago is nun?


And the ciphers.....aarrrrgh.....where to start? We need a 4th coin, please! RD, you see what happens when you take secrets to the grave! :laughing:

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G'day jsarche,

I think you'll find it difficult to find the drawing of the mausoleum. I found a picture of it in one of my notebooks of Leonardo. As for the solution, I emailed the winners with the same thought and their answer was derived from the skull depicted on the Templar coin.


Which reminds me, I was going to list a thought on those icons and to their meaning and see if that leads to anywhere.


Apple: Could indicate birth or life, in which case Leonardo was born in Vinci, Florence. You would expect that would have to be in there somewhere.


Sword: Symbology says it indicates war etc which could indicate the war machines that Leonardo drew so much about. Many of his inventions were war machines or things that could be used in battle.


Chest: On an earlier post I put up that it could be represented as Leonardo's Treasure...something that he referred to The Mona Lisa numerous times. Being on the Templar coin it could also be the legendary Knights Templar treasure that supposedly made them so powerful.


Skull: This obviously means death, but as a different thought on it, it could represent human anatomy that Leonardo studied and drew.


Just a few thoughts.

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@JSARCHE this link might be helpful to you http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category...onardo_da_Vinci. You could also try a google.image search for "da vinci mausoleum"


@GoldBugGirl. It's just a cool coincidence that Arago is present in one of the anagrams. I noticed this myself when submitting the sketches to the mint, but it was an unintended fruit of the design phase. Just one more coin? I was thinking three more! What do you think of that?


@MV - You win the award for being most dedicated to solving this puzzle. Your work on the icons is very impressive. I hesitate to comment too much on your interpretations, as I don't want to spoil the puzzle. I do like these concepts: skull=death, apple=life, chest=treasure, and sword=war.

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@JSARCHE this link might be helpful to you http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category...onardo_da_Vinci. You could also try a google.image search for "da vinci mausoleum"


I've searched Google images until my eyes crossed, but I honestly don't think I tried "da vinci mausoleum," and I hadn't found the web page you included here. Thank you (he said, pressing his nose firmly back onto the grindstone).

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Another idea which failed me, but I'm hoping to shake something loose by sharing it: I got to thinking while the numbers on the Paris Meridian coin look a lot like coordinates, they really aren't -- that would be too easy, anyway. [:unsure:]


Maybe, though, those numbers correspond to letters somehow. I've tried assigning letters to the numbers using the LdV quote on the Vitruvian coin, as well as the ciphertext on the back of that coin, the anagrams on the front, and the lettering on both sides of the Templar coin. I haven't been able to make anything of it. I'd love to kick around some more ideas with people who might still be interested in this puzzle. It's becoming something of an obsession.

Edited by jsarche
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Regarding the numbers…I pinpointed all the coordinates I could think of relating to them, & nothing made sense…all results were in water…one thing I noticed is that N 36.3650 is the latitude for Constantine, Algeria, so I was wondering if that’s relevant in any way? As far as the other number…it’s just too much of a coincidence for me that 1.618 is an estimate of the Golden Ratio (or the Divine Proportion, as LdV knew it), that figured prominently in his paintings (ex: La Gioconda aka the Mona Lisa)…the remainder of that number isn’t the extension of the G.R., so I’m thinking it’s a separate entity (the 6 is slightly out of line, so maybe that’s a clue?). I tried every interpretation of 69885 for longitude…E 6.9885 is just east of Constantine…can’t help but think this is relevant, but how??? Probably none of this is relevant, but I thought I’d share. Maybe if we all put our heads together....

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Upon further investigation, I found that the second number does indeed have part of the continuation of the G.R., which expressed to eleven digits is 1.6180339887....It's as if the 033 was replaced by a 6, & the 7 was replaced by a 5. Both these digits are slightly out of line. Surely that's significant--but how??


The part I've worked on the most is the ciphertext on the back of the Vitruvian coin...RD confirmed that it's a multi-level cipher, but so far, no discussion of the method(s) involved...it's just my guess, but I think the clues to the method(s) are on the back of the Paris Meridian coin...I think the 14 dots on the outer concentric circle are a reference to ROT13 (there were 16 dots there on LdV's drawing), & the filled-in squares that MV pointed out & that RD confirmed are important, are a reference to another method of decryption. I've tried a lot of possibilities that they suggested to me, but no luck so far.


I still can't figure out how RONV got the St. Hubert Chapel answer, even knowing that the skull is involved. That prize was well earned!


I hope some more progress can be made, meanwhile, I guess we wait for another nugget from RD.

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So...I do not have a set of these coins (although I really want a set...just can't afford to buy coins right now)...but I am really intigued by this challenge and have been following it for the last few months since the resurgence in this thread...My wife and I are going to Italy in March and do plan on visiting The Last Supper (you should see the crazy hoops you have to jump through to get to go in to see it)...I was thinking if any of you wanted an "in the field" investigator to check any hints/clues/dead ends out for you I would love to do this. It would make me feel like I am helping to solve this Great Mystery!...T.

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