Today is February 1st. To be positive, it means spring is just around the corner! On a less positive note, winter still has a firm grip, days are still short, we’re all still recovering from the holidays, and the first two months of the year it just seems like ‘the place’ is dead! That’s one reason I like to go to Arizona in mid-late January, which I did, and it was a blast, but that’s not what this post is about.
Same Plans, New Year
I have articles and research information on lost treasures that, for some reason, I get most interested in somewhere just after Christmas each year. These are stories that I’ve researched and have elements of truth to them, and were on my ‘list’ to check out back when I had a treasure hunting partner. The cool thing about these stories is that even if the main treasure weren’t to be found, there would be smaller, yet still interesting treasures to find, no matter if the original story was even true or not. Settings like old river crossings, campsites along the many old trails that were used by bandits, travelers and even military convoys ‘back in the day’. How would you like to be the one that found the actual location of a trading post that was known to exist, but nobody has been able to pinpoint for the last century? What do you think you could find there with a metal detector? In my opinion, a LOT. I have information on several of these within a few hundred miles of where I sit right now. That information has a layer of dust on it from the last 5 years of no activity on my part, and the sites have a corresponding accumulation of leaves and other overburden that keeps them hidden as more years stack up. ‘Well go check it out’, you say! Right…I want to…but the truth is it would just be more fun with somebody else to go with me. That’s where the wheels fall off! Everybody DREAMS of hunting a treasure, even expresses the DESIRE to hunt treasure, is willing to make loose PLANS of hunting treasure, and might even volunteer to participate in research. HOWEVER, it ends there. Too much work, family obligations, money is tight, my back hurts, knees, eyes, pick the poison…which means the expedition will be me, myself and I, and I just don’t feel like embarking on these adventures alone. My family already knows I’m crazy, but I at least owe it to them to be safe and efficient in such endeavors. After all, it costs money to launch such expeditions, which has to come from the budget. Next there is the danger that comes from the environment, people you may encounter along the way, and the nagging realization in the subconscious mind-if I find this treasure, problems will follow!
A Good or Bad Problem?
What do you mean, ‘finding a treasure will cause problems’? Well, first off, you have Uncle Sam. The IRS will want to tax you on the value of what you find, in some cases whether you actually converted it to cash or not (see the case of the California couple who found a rusty old can of gold coins). Next you could face ‘original owner’ issues. Wells Fargo, not even the same entity that existed in the 1800’s has attempted to lay claim to any strong boxes bearing the ‘Wells Fargo’ logo, the US Mint still owns any shipment of gold coins hijacked along the way to it’s original destination. Then you have the burdensome regulations that bureaucrats have enacted regarding antiquities, salvage rights, etc. that essentially have overwritten laws that exist saying that YOU have a right to what you’ve found. Bureaucrats…the lowest form of life…we’ll save that for another time! Anyway, the reality is, a treasure is worthless till you convert it to cash! Oh, and that process will involve tax documents from refineries or coin shops, if you use them as a source to cash out. So search away, and know that you WILL face many entities that will try to take everything from you, and might even try to legally punish you just for finding what you found. There is so much more to discuss here! Believe it or not, the whole notion scares some people off. Finding jewelry at a beach, coins in a park or old homesite, relics in old battlefields, all of those just come with less hassle!
Did You Say Something About Risk?
Glad you were paying attention. I’d like to point out that poking through old woods, river crossings, deserts, mountains, caves, wherever a treasure was hidden, is NOT like loading up your backpack full of ultralight gear, hiking a designated, maintained trail, and taking in scenery. These places are in rugged environments. Think about it-if you wanted to hide a treasure would you put it in an easy spot? There were no huge cities. Banks had not been started yet for many of these tales, and certainly weren’t trusted when they did first start. After all, the FDIC didn’t start insuring bank accounts till so many banks got robbed that the entire institution was at risk from lack of trust (that’s only one aspect and a very simplified version BTW).
Add in the fact that the people were tougher and braver than you are. Period. In fact, a common joke I make is that the pioneer women would beat the snot out of most of our ‘manly men’ today! They weren’t scared to roam into areas that would raise the hair on the backs of our necks. Those people faced death every day from critters, indians, bandits or the law, the elements, and a variety of other things. That especially includes caves or old mines that were sketchy even back then, after all, where would YOU hide a treasure that nobody would either be able to find, or would dare to look? And who knows what those places would be like NOW?
So here I sit, thinking about whether I should bother to try to recruit people again, for expeditions that will fall through at the last minute because ‘life happens’. Well it does happen of course, but I’ve heard it all by now. Maybe this is the year I decide to just do it myself.