Since the dawn of time, people have been fascinated with the idea of treasure hunting, the thrill of the chase, the planning the searching, and the ultimate euphoria of discovering something of true value. Gary Drayton is fortunate enough to live out this reality in full, and what makes him most relatable is that his finds are often in places that are far from obscure. Drayton has an impressive track record of finding truly unique and valuable objects, so much so that he caught the eye of History Channel. After appearing in various shows, he was eventually cast in “The Curse of Oak Island”, in which the audience could follow the exploits of Gary and his fellow treasure hunters. Gary is not the least bit stingy about his success, and has authored various books about his process, and offers training to any interested parties.
Early Life and Family
Gary Drayton was born on 30 May 1961, in Grimsby, Lincolnshire England; although there is very little known about his family, Gary is very open about his youth. Gary was imbued with an adventurous spirit, and eye for treasure from a young age. He would spend hours combing Victorian trash pits, bottle-searching, or as he prefers to term it, ‘Mudlarking”.Searching for anything of value, Drayton found an assortment of historically significant items, clay pipes, and bottles dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. One of the most iconic finds of his youth was a Roman perfume bottle, that is believed to date back to the Roman occupation – making this an archaeological find.
Gary totes his experience in the field over the years as being his education, calling it “The School of Hardcore Beach and Water Hunting”, an adage that he has readily adapted to his teaching of the activity.
When Gary moved to Florida, USA in 1989, he decided to pick up a metal detector, his choice of model being an Excalibur, and take it down to the beach. On his first day, he unearthed both a Spanish piece of eight, the legend of which has been immortalized in every pirate franchise, and his life’s passion. This find was soon followed by the discovery of a Spanish Fleet gold and emerald ring that dated all the way back to 1715, valued at $500,000, and with that, the game was on.
With a penchant for metal detecting and a love for Spanish treasure, Gary unearthed multiple valuables, and his skill in the field grabbed the attention of the local news, and other Spanish treasure hunters.
Of course, it is not only ancient treasures that lie hidden beneath the beach sand, but an entire plethora of modern treasures. Think about something you lost on the beach – a ring, a watch, ear-rings – and multiply by the thousands who frequent the beach every summer. Gary has found everything, from Rolex watches to diamond rings and gold chains. Eventually, his findings caught the eye of the producers over on History Channel, and his career took a turn.
“The Curse of Oak Island”
Premiering on 5 January 2014, the show initially cast out to document the travels of Marty and Rick Lagina, who had become infatuated with the idea of finding the fabled treasure of Oak Island. While the treasure itself has never been confirmed as anything more than a fable, this has not stopped treasure hunters throughout the centuries from seeking it out, even resulting in at least six deaths. The show is rife with theories and speculation, and a large team of experts and hunters.
Despite his popularity, Drayton only made sporadic appearances during the second and fourth seasons of the show, sharing his expertise on metal detecting and techniques.
However, he became so popular that he was eventually cast as a main character from the fifth season in 2015, a position that he retains until today. Drayton became known for his personality and catchphrases such as “Holy Shamoly”, and the way he affectionately refers to his finds as “Bobby dazzlers” and “Top Pocket Finds”. Gary Drayton promoted the popularity of the show to such an extent, that there was a change.org campaign launched, that lobbied for Drayton to have a show of his own. Although there has been no response to this action, supporters of the movement have named Gary as their favorite part of the show.
Gary Drayton has written at least 13 guides to treasure hunting and beach exploration. Within these, he shares all his key secrets and experiences that have made him into the successful treasure hunter he is today. All of these are available on his website, and cover everything from the most obvious topics – “Beginners Guide to Beach Hunting” – to the more obscure, yet equally integral subjects – “How to Read the Beach and Water”. Gary is always careful to reiterate that while there is an element of luck to treasure hunting, research and preparation are also important to improve chances of success.
Capitalizing on the success and fame that “The Curse of Oak Island” has bought him, Gary now gives lessons and advice on treasure hunting. He is based in Florida, and works on the local beaches, providing students with all the tools and equipment that they will need for the session. Gary charges a seemingly extortionate amount – $750 – for a three-hour session, but many are willing to pay this to get advice from the master. He offers both lessons in modern jewelry hunting, and Spanish treasure hunting, taking his students back to his roots on the beaches along the treasure coast.
Gary Drayton has succeeded in keeping his personal life completely away from the camera.
While he has a prominent presence on social media, including Instagram and Facebook, his posts seem to focus solely on his travels and finds (and the distinct possibility of a pet cat), not so much on his social interactions. Gary also loves to share his knowledge and experience on his YouTube channel, and is toted as an expert on the Minelabs website, the brand from which Gary purchases all his mining equipment.
Some information has surfaced about Drayton’s family. Gary is married to Jennifer Sauve, but for how long – and so when and where – is unknown. The two have two daughters, Anya and Katya, who have been pictured treasure hunting alongside their father. Katya is also a figure skater of significant skill and consequently is more prominent in the news.
Gary Drayton has white hair and a receding hairline, a fact that he fully embraced by going completely bald when not wearing a cap. He has pale blue-green eyes and supposedly sports a medley of tattoos on his upper arms. He is 5ft 10in tall and weighs around 180lbs (80kgs).
Net Worth and Salary
With various business ventures on the go, an online store with branded clothing and treasure hunting guides, treasure hunting lessons, appearances on “he Curse of Oak Island”, not to mention all the treasure he has located, it should come as no surprise that Drayton has an impressive net worth. Gary Drayton’s net worth is estimated to exceed $3 million, as of mid-2020.