Friday, January 19, 2018

A Little Luck Goes A Long Way

For some, treasure hunting comes naturally....or, I should say "by fluke".

Those of you who have been following my blog for years, may recall reading about the Marc Chagall painting, a copy of The Declaration of Independence, and the unpublished works by Beethoven I did a post about back in May 2010.

Then there are the recent discoveries made by accident....

Like the tins of gold coins found by a Californian couple while out walking their dog....

And the 19 amphoras full of Roman coins found in Spain by construction workers digging a trench....

As well as a lost Jackson Pollock painting languishing in a guy's garage....

Plus a 1970s find of a Ferrari that kids found buried in someone's back yard...

And a search for a lost hammer revealed a multi-million dollar Roman hoard...

And an accidental capsizing a kayak made for a discovery of a gold hoard lost since the Boer war.... 

And I could go on and on.

So many treasures are found by people entirely buy accident, people not even looking for treasure.

Such finds probably frustrate real treasure hunters, I'd bet. They frustrate me, I know that!

But, you still go on, and chase the treasures you know about. 

What else can you do?

Got to keep the dream alive, working to get ever closer to that treasure!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Treasure Map Just For You

If you have been paying attention to my blogs, you will remember that I mentioned a treasure just waiting to be found.

$200,000 in gold awaits a lucky treasure hunter, sitting somewhere in south eastern Manitoba.

It is said to be somewhere between St Anne's and Harrison Creek, and under the floorboards of some old cabin.

So, I undertook the task of determining exactly where those two locations are, to narrow down your search. 

Here you go, a bona fide treasure map!

In this case, X does not mark the spot of the treasure...but they do mark the outside perimeter of where the treasure is.

Now, your job is to find the old Dawson Trail, (big hint at that link) and then see if you can find old cabins from the right period along/near the trail. There are roughly only 115 miles worth of trail to search!

Sounds easy enough, no?

When you find the treasure, send me a piece as a souvenir, would ya?

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Real Heavy & Rock Solid Lead - Treasure Lead #11

I know of a barn that was built using stone hammer heads.

And I don't mean the hammers were literally used to pound in the pegs into the wood....

 I mean the heads were used as building materials for PART OF THE BARN!

Turns out the farm site chosen by the settlers was littered with countless stone hammer heads!

 So common and numerous were they on the landscape that they used them as part of the foundations for the barn they built!

Imagine, hundreds of ancient stone hammer heads, used as construction material!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Treasure, Treasure, Treasure Everywhere...

With so many treasures around, you'd think we'd all be getting rich.

However, it takes more than just knowing about leads to things; it means undertaking the work involved to go get treasures, to check out the leads, to follow up on hunches, etc.

And many of those leads, hunches, etc will be dead ends, for one reason or other. 

Disappointment has stymied more than one hopeful treasure hunter.

Cash backing is another aspect that tends to keep people from pursuing their leads, fleshing out the details, etc.   

They say "it takes money to make money," and, frankly, as a general stateme, it is correct.

Treasure hunting is not cheap.

Then comes the potential for others to claim "your" treasure once it has been found.   The folks working at Oak Island may find that items they discover may well be claimed by the Canadian government as archaeological relics.

Treasure hunters finding lost loot from robberies, shipwrecks, etc sometimes discover that there are still open insurance claims on their finds, and corporations will swoop in and lay claim to the  treasure hunter's hard earned treasure.

Some of the items that my leads are for could well be confiscated by government due to their archaeological importance, so how do you monetize your work so it is not all for naught?

These days Reality TV seems to be the way some are doing it.   For full disclosure purposes, note that yes, mongst interviews about picking that I have done for a few production companies, I have been approached by one major media corporation about one of my treasure leads. Went through 3 interviews about it, and got to the point that the "big wigs" liked it, and wanted bios of my "team members".  

But, it has since been put on the back burner. Not off the table, but not exactly active. If I came up with something significant, it may well be brought to a front burner, though.

It was said in not so many words that I pretty much need to find the items first, so that they have a "for sure" scenario of finding the stuff.  I can't afford to undertake this endeavour to those extremems myself without some sort of financial backing that allows me to pay my regular bills, as well as expenses for the hunt.

I have thought of starting a gofundme plea for cash, but I can't see that being all that successful...unless the couple hundred readers of this blog want to each toss in $100? Keep in mind, if found, the treasure would change history as it is written! 

Or are there any wealthy folks out there who want to participate in and fund a treasure hunt?

Hmmm?  I am hearing crickets....

That is usual, however. People really don't wish to take risks, or simply do not have the excess cash to take risks with.  I am not a big talker, and I don't pump things up to get people to open their wallets. I err on the side of caution. More pessimistic, I guess, but I do believe in my leads, but there is always a hitch of some sort in any treasure hunting expedition...that is part of the adventure....some adversity. You just have to work through it, or around it.  That's just the way life works. Nothing in life comes easy, to most of us.

Happy hunting folks!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Modern Buried Treasures - ET and the Boys

Can a treasure really be plastic?

I don't mean pliable or bendable, I mean actually made of PLASTIC.

Well, apparently so.

Plastic is an older material than most people think, but in this case it the treasure is of a newer plastic than you'd think.

You see, in 1983 there was a burial....

Of unsold Atari cartridges.

And in 2014 they were dug up.

Treasure some people's eyes!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Hand in the Coat - Treasure Lead #10

This lead is a bit on the breakable side...


But not just any glassware....

Champagne glasses belonging to Napoleon.

No nothing to do with Napoleon Dynamite....

These belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte.

These were last seen in the late 1920s in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

My trail on them has gone cold as of the 1970s, as the last living member of the family owning them passed away, leaving no known heirs.

Could them still be floating around Winnipeg? Given away? Or trashed when the estate was cleaned  up?

The photo below is an actual image of the very pieces missing. There was a set of 10 of these, with the provenance being fairly strong. There is a possibility they were commemorative pieces of some sort, but the style matches that of the period exactly.

Imagine, Napoleonic relics in Winnipeg, Manitoba of all places! 

But where could the be now?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Modern Buried Treasure Worth Billions

There is a whole new realm of lost treasure out there.

With crypto currencies making waves in the financial realm, there is digital currency access saved on hard drives across the world.

So, what happens if you forget you have your bitcoin access saved to a hard drive in a computer you decide to get rid of?

Well, this is what happens.

This gentleman tossed a laptop in the trash....unfortunately for him, there was access to 7500 bitcoin....which, at the publication of this blog is worth $136,847,625.00.

He has plans to try and find said laptop, but he has the financial ability to do so, with his own net worth being $80 million. 

Most of us would not be so lucky to have the finances to pursue such an endeavour. 

If he was smart, he might as well purchase that section of the landfill, and literally mine it for other materials while looking for his laptop; he'll at least recoup some of his investment that way.

There are over 4 million bitcoins out of circulation right now....

that translates to $74.76 BILLION dollars.

Here is the breakdown for anyone interested.

This digital age could well be opening up a whole new wild west of treasure hunting.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Pics from a Summer Pick

With the weather being cold and wintery, I figured I'd share some pics from a pick I did this past summer. It was a 2 1/2 story farmhouse, with the top 1/2 story being a walk-up attic.

I have been watching this house for quite some time. When we finally made contact with the owners, who were now ready to sell stuff, the house had been vandalized, and much of the contents rummaged through by thieves. 

They had initially had plans to do some restoration to the house, but vandals and mother nature's wrath (including a tornado taking out a corner of the house as you can partially see in the first photo,) foiled their dreams of doing something with the property.

I had previously scouted the house last year, and spotted a few things of interest, but at the time didn't have the time and cash on hand to purchase what I had wanted.  Sadly, some of the other things of interest also had disappeared by the time I got back to it this summer.

The large attic was the first stop, but the few things I remembered were there last year were in worse shape than I recalled, and a some were missing. 

 Access to the roof. There were lightning rods on the roof, but they were a common type, and the ladder up there was sketchy, to say the least. The roof itself was far from sturdy, also. Not worth risking my life for!

Sitting room view. Once a grand old house.

A small part of the basement. 

The basement still held a prize I had spotted the year before, this jam cupboard, with a great crackled finish. 

I bought a few other knick knacks, but the cupboard was the main purchase. The house still has some architectural bits in it I may be going back for, and some rougher things that are essentially parts, or upcycling inspiration, but that is about it. This home had previously had a full attic of antiques, but thieves had plundered it heavily prior to the current owners obtaining the property.

It is too bad the home has been looted and destroyed, but has become a fact of life in this world where respect for private property means little to some people.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Treasure - In The Eye Of The Beholder - Taking a Shot

One of the things people don't realize is that treasure, like many things, is most certainly in the eye of the beholder.

A particularly rare pinball machine ($125,000) could be treasure to one person, while a trashed car recovered from the bottom of a lake ($500,000) could be another's idea of treasure.

I generally have spent many of my days looking for treasure, and most certainly more time than the average person. I just haven't come across treasures valued in those six and seven figure ranges!

That is what I hope for, of course, but those tend to be once in a lifetime finds...if you ever find something of that sort of value.

Who knows, maybe I already own something of that sort of value, but just have not figured it out yet!

I have found things that over time have garnered me five figure amounts.

Take for example these little guys:

They are just what they look like, red, wood, bullets.

These were used in 90% of the cap gun holsters in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

So why do I consider these treasure?

Supply and demand.

At the time I found them...oh, and wait, I forgot to mention.....I found 10 cases of these, with 1600 in each case. 

Anyway, at the time I found them, there was pretty much no supply available to collectors....

So, they sold like hot cakes.

First I sold them for $7 a dozen, then $25 a dozen, and even auctioned some off that went for upwards to $65 for two dozen.

It took a few years of sporadic selling, but it got to the point where I am pretty much sold out, save for a handful I kept as a remembrance of the find.

It still may not seem like much...until you do some math...

10 cases x 1600 per case = 16000

16000 / 12 (lots of dozen) = 1333.33

1333.33 x $25.00 per dozen (average sales price) = $33,333.25

My initial cost was $100 + taxes for all 10 cases, $10 a case.

Not too shabby for a bunch of little red bullets now, is it?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

A Jumbo Type Treasure - Treasure Lead #9

This is one big treasure lead!

And I mean huge!

As big as an elephant...!

Well, actually, it IS an elephant.

Let me explain...

I got a lead on an unusual burial in Manitoba.

You see, in short, there was once a circus, and one of their elephants collided with a locomotive....and the elephant didn't make it.

And no, this is not the story of Jumbo is one of his pachyderm circus cousins who perished here in Manitoba. (Jumbo died in Ontario.)

Not sure what it with locomotives and elephants, but it seems Jumbo was not the only one who tangled with a steam locomotive here in Canada.

Anyway, this may be more of an oddity than a treasure, but it could be worth going after. 

No idea if it had tusks or not, which would have value as ivory.

One positive thing is that I believe I have narrowed down it's location. 

I figure they probably covered it in lime before burial. 

And I have located an elephant size "dead spot" in brush near where the incident occurred. 

Got a big shovel? 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Little Mysteries - Eye Spy

Picked up this photo some time ago, and it has been kicking around ever since.

What intrigues me a bit is the fact it has the words "American Spy" written across the top of it.

I'd had preferred that it said "American Outlaw" and in that there would be more chance of finding out the identity of the man.

The writing was done in ballpoint pen, so it was obviously long after the photo was taken, probably a generation or two....right?

Not so fast. Turns out the ball point pen was actually invented in 1888, and versions were in use in the early 20th century.

But, the mystery still remains as to who this guy is, and why would anyone bother to write "American Spy" on the photo in the first place?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Treasure Leads - The Cons

There should be a common thread you have noticed with all the treasure leads I have presented to you.

You hadn't already heard of them....

Or at least most of them. 

If you had heard of them, it could have been from myself, or you got a vague mention of the stories that accompany them. 

None of them are well known, unlike 1000s of other leads out there, which can be found in various books, magazines, YouTube, etc. 

I could easily present some of those more obscure ones to you as my own, and you would likely be none the wiser, unless you decide to spend an hour on Google digging into them. I prefer to be straight, on the up and up about the leads I have, and that they are unique and relatively unknown. It does add to the mystique of them, as well, no?

Plus, mine are all basically here in Manitoba, my home province. Manitoba really is under rated for treasure hunting, and has some fascinating history that is largely ignored.

One incident that falls into the category of lost treasure waiting to be found is about $380,000 worth of gold on the Dawson Trail in 1868, here in Manitoba. At the time the shipment was worth $10,000, and was the payroll for soldiers at Fort Garry.

It is not very well known, and there has been no well publicized searches for it, to my knowledge.  But, it is something that appears often enough in the public eye, and information on it is available to the general public. 

You can chase it, if it has not already been quietly found and has made someone moderately wealthy.

I believe that given time and money, most of these treasures I have listed can be found.

However, money is not always in ready supply.   

Some of the leads require heavy equipment, special permissions, significant travel, specialized skill sets, among other factors.

Some will require luck, and much time.

Others require combinations of the above. 

None of them are cheap ventures. If it is not money being spent, it is time....and, as the old adage says time is money.

I have worked on a few of these leads more than the others.  The most work has been done on the Mad Trapper case, with the Norse leads coming in a close second.

I'd love to get the railway china, which could be profitable. However, I do not scuba dive.  But, a miniature sub might work. Anyone have one handy?   If I had some sort of TV backing, I know of a company who might actually provide the use of one, in exchange for the publicity.

Digging up the locomotive would be cool, just for shits and giggles and to say I had done it.....but really,  the market for a rusty locomotive is pretty limited. I do have a couple homes for it in mind, but they are both museums, and their pockets are not going to be deep. A donation is more a museum's thing. Would be worth a pretty penny just in weight for scrap, but it is unlikely even that will outweigh the costs of going after it.  Corporate sponsorship by one particular company might be the way to go, but to get it, I'd want to have the site 100% determined, and evidence of the same to present to them.

The dugout canoe would be a significant archaeological find, but going after it could require some heavy equipment, and getting that equipment to the site would be quite the feat all on its own itself.

The James brother's artifacts would be a cool Canadian/American history crossover, but the trail is quite cold.

The airplane engines are not a 100% for sure, though I am sure other artifacts would be found that would make the dig worthwhile. There is a wild card in this lead, which is something I have not mentioned. You see, some of the materials put into the landfill site could be of a dangerous nature (IE: hazardous chemicals, potential for explosive ordnance).  I know there would be support for this venture from at least one source, but it would be support by way of knowledge and connections, not financial.

The lead most realistically to get worked on (or finished) this year, considering my current financial and time situation is the Mad Trapper case.

This one requires time, though there are a few things I'd like to do that would require travel time and cash.  There is a site he may have been, at which there will be spent ammunition, and I would like to obtain that spent ammunition. If they are 45 casings, I would also locate the one of the spent 45 shells he left behind in his battle with the RCMP and posse at his cabin. I could them compare the two to see if the Manitoba site is one he definitely was at.  Could be a neat metal detecting outing for sure! 

So, what leads shall I follow up in the New Year?   

Any wealthy benefactors or Television production companies out there that want to back a treasure hunt or 3?

Monday, January 1, 2018

What Treasures Shall the New Year Bring?

Ok, so I have presented you with 8 of my treasure leads so far.

Just to review they were:

(1) Oak Island Treasure - Steam Locomotive

(2) Treasure With The Blackflies - Ancient Dugout Canoe

(3) Treasure Intangible - Mad Trapper's movements and identity

(4) Treasure On A Platter - Hoard of Railway China

(5) Hagar The Horrible Would Be Proud - Norse helmet and sword/dagger

(6) The Manitoba Runestone - Viking Runestone

(7) Fly, Fly Away - WW2 airplane engines in crates

(8) Wild West Outlaw Treasure - Jesse James' horse bridal and Frank James' colt revolver

Now I have two questions for you.

Which one would you dedicate your time to pursuing, if you had the money, time and ability to pursue? 

Realistically, which are worth pursuing, given a lack of time, money and limited abilities?

I look forward to your answers in the comments!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wild West Outlaw Treasure - Treasure Lead #8

This lead consists not of buried ill gotten loot, but of two gifts.

You see, I was talking with an old timer, a real cowboy, who is versed in the local lore of his area.

Word is that Jesse James, Frank James and two other outlaws of the James-Younger gang hid out in Southern Manitoba after (at least) one of their robberies.

The story goes that Jesse & one outlaw stayed at one farmer's place, and Frank and the other outlaw stayed at another farmer's place, all 4 posing/working as farm hands over the winter.

Apparently the Pinkertons had a blockade set up across the USA, being determined to catch the brothers as they tried to get home to the south.

When it came time to leave Manitoba, the brothers readied their horses, but found the two thoroughbreds they arrived on were not recovered/ready, so they left their two stallions here, and took one of each of the farmers' horses. 

So, there is probably some of the James' horses' DNA  floating around in some of the horse population here! 

Frank was appreciative for the lodging given him and his associate, and had presented his host with one of his Colt pistols. What model it was is unknown, at least at the moment!

This firearm was said to have been seen by a friend of mine in a collection back 30 or 40 years ago. He was told the gun had belonged to Frank James, but at the time he brushed the information told to him off as fantasy...but hearing this additional  story some years later has given him pause....could it be a colt that belonged to Frank James is in private hands right now?

Jesse on the other hand, presented a fancy bridal to the son of the farmer he and the other outlaw lodged with, as the son had admired it.  The bridal has not been seen (recognized) in recent times.

Fall had become winter, likely winter had become spring, and by that time the Pinkertons gave up. The outlaws made it home, probably during the late winter or spring. 

The trick to these treasures, beyond the monumental task of finding them, is provenance

It has been a rumour/tale told through generations that the James brothers came up to that particular part of Southern Manitoba after their robberies, but how do you prove it?  Are there photos floating around of the brothers posing with the families, or their images in emblazoned on a cabinet card that is marked with a Manitoba area photographer's markings, or their images with landmarks in the background that can be identified positively to those areas? 

The more time passes, the more tenuous those connections are, if they even exist. 

So, the next time you see a fancy bridal or a colt pistol from that era, it should be on your mind to ask if the person knows the history of the piece...maybe, just maybe the infamous James brothers once owned them!

A Colt Revolver with provenance as belonging to Frank James. Could this be the mate to the one that he left with the farmer in Manitoba?  (Image from this cool page:

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Fly, Fly Away - Treasure Lead #7

This lead actually is a ground based lead, but does have to do with flying.

During WW2 under the BCATP had air training bases spread across Canada.

So, what happens when a government owned facility becomes surplus, like so many did post when World War 2 ended?

They are closed, and their contents disposed of; usually through various means, including redistribution to other government facilities, by public auction, etc.

In the case of the bases, there was so much material to dispose of it would have been overwhelming. 

The bases had their own dumpsites for disposal of base generated trash, which all on their own would be interesting enough to excavate....though possibly dangerous, as well.

You have heard of the myth of buried Harley Davidson motorcycles in crates? 

Well, I got wind of one airbase where there were supposedly surplus aircraft engines in crates disposed of in one particular BCATP dump site!

Unwanted then, perhaps, but now are highly sought after by air craft restorers, museums, and collectors of WW2 aviation history.

So there you have some WW2 era buried treasures just waiting to be excavated!