Western Treasures 1.2: A different kind of "treasure legend"
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Thread: Western Treasures 1.2: A different kind of "treasure legend"

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  1. #1
    Charter Member

    Jun 2004
    641 times

    Western Treasures 1.2: A different kind of "treasure legend"

    One of the interesting consequences of research is a tendency to feel nostalgic...even more unusual is to be nostalgic for a time period you were never part of.

    Some of the days research (thanks to the holiday) led me to the Winter 1963 issue of Western Treasures (Volume 1, Number 2).

    Western Treasures would become Western/Eastern Treasures in the mid 1970s, so it can be argued that it is perhaps the longest running treasure periodical on the market. (O'd have to check dates, but I'm fairly confident Western treasures was being published a few years before Treasure World and True Treasure, which were later combined to be the currently published Lost Treasure).

    That said, i was flipping through that 2nd ever issue and was struck my the "name power" they had turned lose on their readers.

    Edited by Robert Ames, I believe he also published under the name of Jack Black...and contributed to his own magazine as a result. He also published a book or two under this moniker. A quick once over of the magazine shows:

    "Lost and Found" by Robert Nesmith
    "The Soldier's Cache" by Wayne Winters (Ft. Huachuca Treasure)
    "Lost Spanish Gold in Devil's Canyon" by Steve Wilson
    "Dead Men's Gold" by William Mahan
    "Lafiette's Greatest Treasure" by Lieut. Harry E. Rieseberg
    "Lost Mine of the Golden Eagle" by Jack Black

    At least this many more significant articles written by folks I'm not familiar with as well. But talk about an all-star line up!

    *A number of things strike me. Several adds for off-road vehicles, something you don't see today in treasure magazines. Not sure what accounts for that break from compatible products. That shift becomes more prominent by 1970 or so. Scattered throughout the magazine are adds for trucks, jeeps, accessories, and repair manuals.

    *Steve Wilson features prominently in this era of writing, I believe he also wrote for Western Mags during this same general area. If memory serves me, Steve served in Viet Nam and upon returning does not appear to have submitted articles anymore. Not sure why he stepped back, though employment seems to be the most likely culprit. That said, his book Oklahoma Treasure Tales and his treatise on the Texas Spider Rocks remain arguably the two single most impressive books on treasure hunting that demonstrate hard work, research, and focus can produce a book that withstands the scrutiny of our modern sensibility to poo-poo treasure stories. Absolutely the model for deep and worthwhile research and how it can elevate a good treasure hunting legend.

    *William Mahan published a lot of articles in many different magazines during this time period. He was fortunate enough to profit from the beaches of Padre Island. His successes I imagine were a big push towards the wave of new treasure hunters the next decade would see. I also wonder if his success would somehow influence the government's decision in the late 1960s to ban metal detecting on Padre Island. Either way a great case of being in the right place at the right time. Interesting too is not only Mahan reaping the benefits of a largely untouched and gold-laced Padre Island, he's also invested in D-Tex treasure locators...burning the candle at both ends. One can easily surmise that his own successes as a treasure hunter were also driving people towards his product line.

    *In general this issue really focuses a lot on sea-based recoveries and shipwrecks. My sense is that "treasure hunting" as we know it still hasn't caught on with metal detectors just starting to get a buzz (no pun intended) but probably still fairly bulky, weak, and priced beyond the means of the average consumer looking for a new hobby. That is going to change soon though...on all three fronts (Weight, sensitivity, price).

    *Foul Anchor Archives ran several adds in this issue, including a full back page spread. Robert Nesmith ran this, so again, we see someone profiting both by their work (I believe he was involved in underwater salvage) and indirectly by promoting it. Foul Anchor even in this early stage of treasure hunting (relatively speaking) had established a solid reputation for treasure-related books, maps, and related materials. My suspicion is that there was a bit of quid pro quo at work, individuals like Mahan and Nesmith would write articles in exchange for advertising. I could be wrong but the constant overlap of publications and writers in this inner-circle (and others) lends itself for this type of business model.

    Thanks for indulging me, hope someone found this interesting...

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  2. #2

    Oct 2016
    1375 times
    Researching Treasure Stories Author
    Thanks for the look back at the magazine history.
    Randy Bradford likes this.



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