Since time immemorial, people have been fascinated by the idea of treasure hunting, the excitement of the chase, the planning of the search and the ultimate euphoria of discovering something of real value. Gary Drayton is lucky enough to live this reality to the fullest, and what makes him most recognizable 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 attention of the History Channel. After appearing on several shows, he was finally cast in “The Curse of Oak Island”, which allowed audiences to follow the exploits of Gary and his fellow treasure hunters. Not the least bit stingy about his success, Gary has written several books about his process and offers training to all interested.
Early life and family
Gary Drayton was born on May 30, 1961 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England; although very little is known about his family, Gary is very open about his childhood. Gary was imbued with an adventurous spirit and an eye for treasure from an early age. He spent hours combing through Victorian bins, looking for bottles, or as he prefers to call it, “mudlarking.” Looking for something of value, Drayton found an assortment of historically significant items, clay pipes and bottles dating back to the 14th century.e and 15e centuries. One of the most iconic finds of his childhood was a Roman perfume bottle, believed to date back to the Roman occupation, making this an archaeological find.
Gary carries his experience in the field over the years as his own educationwho called it “The School of Hardcore Beach and Water Hunting”, a saying he has easily adapted to his teaching of the activity.
When Gary moved to Florida, USA in 1989, he decided to pick up a metal detector, his model of choice being an Excalibur, and take it 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 gold and emerald ring from the Spanish fleet dating back to 1715, valued at $500,000, and the game was on.
With a penchant for metal detecting and a love of Spanish treasures, Gary has excavated multiple valuables, and his skill in the field has caught the attention of the local news and other Spanish treasure hunters.
Of course, it’s not just ancient treasures hidden under the beach sand, but a whole plethora of modern treasures. Think of something you lost on the beach – a ring, a watch, earrings – and multiply by the thousands who visit the beach each summer. Gary has found everything from Rolex watches to diamond rings and gold chains. Eventually, his findings caught the attention of the producers on the History Channel and his career took a turn for the worse.
“The Curse of Oak Island”
Premiered on January 5, 2014, the show initially cast out to document the travels of Marty and Rick Lagina, who had fallen in love with the idea of finding Oak Island’s fabled treasure. While the treasure itself has never been confirmed as anything more than a fable, it hasn’t stopped treasure hunters over the centuries from searching for it, even resulting in at least six deaths. The show is full of theories and speculation, and a large team of experts and hunters.
Despite his popularity, Drayton only appeared sporadically during the show’s second and fourth seasons, sharing his expertise in metal detection and techniques.
However, he became so popular that he was eventually cast as the main character from the fifth season in 2015, a position he retains to this day. Drayton became known for his personality and slogans like “Holy Shamoly”, and the way he fondly refers to his finds as “Bobby dazzlers” and “Top Pocket Finds”. Gary Drayton promoted the show’s popularity to such an extent that a change.org campaign was launched that lobbied for Drayton to have his own show. While there has been no response to this move, supporters of the movement have cited Gary as their favorite part of the show.
Gary Drayton has written at least 13 guides on treasure hunting and beach exploration. In it he shares all his most important secrets and experiences that have made him the successful treasure hunter he is today. All of these are available at are website, and covers everything from the most obvious topics – “Beginner’s Guide to Beach Hunting” – to the more obscure, but equally integrative topics – “How to Read the Beach and the Water”. Gary always carefully reiterates that while there is a luck factor in treasure hunting, research and preparation are also important to increase the chance of success.
Building on the success and fame “The Curse of Oak Island” brought him, Gary now teaches lessons and advice on treasure hunting. Based in Florida, he works on the local beaches, providing students with all the tools and equipment they need for the session. Gary cost a seemingly exorbitant sum – $750 – for a three hour session, but many are willing to pay this to get advice from the master. He offers both modern jewelry hunting and Spanish treasure hunting classes, taking his students back to his roots on the beaches along the Treasure Coast.
Gary Drayton has managed to keep his personal life completely off camera.
While he features prominently on social media, including Instagram and Facebook, his posts seem to focus solely on his travels and finds (and the obvious possibility of a house cat), not so much on his social interactions. Gary also likes to share his knowledge and experience on his YouTube channel, and is considered an expert on the Minelabs website, the brand where Gary buys all of his mining equipment.
Some information has surfaced about Drayton’s family. Gary is married to Jennifer Sauve, but for how long – and therefore when and where – is unknown. The two have two daughters, Anya and Katya, who are pictured on a treasure hunt with their father. Katya is also a figure skater with considerable skill and hence is more prominent in the news.
Gary Drayton has white hair and a receding hairline, a fact he fully embraced by going completely bald when not wearing a cap. He has light blue-green eyes and is said to have a hodgepodge of tattoos on his upper arms. He is 5ft 10in tall and weighs approximately 180lbs (80kgs).
Net worth and salary
With several business ventures on the way, an online store of designer clothes and treasure hunting guides, treasure hunting classes, performances on “he Curse of Oak Island”, not to mention all the treasures he’s found, it should come as no surprise that Drayton has an impressive assets. Gary Drayton’s net worth is estimated to be over $3 million as of mid 2020.