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The Lagina brothers: net worth & biggest finds

At less than one mile long and a thousand feet wide, the tiny island of Oak Island in Nova Scotia has played host to the world's longest running and most expensive treasure hunt. 

Americans Rick and Marty Lagina are the latest treasure hunters to take up the challenge and so far have spent nearly a decade searching on the island. Their progress over the past five years has been documented on the HISTORY show The Curse of Oak Island which is about to enter its sixth series. The show has been a huge global hit and has amassed a large fan base, raising the profile of the Lagina brothers.

With such fame comes public curiosity and so we set out to answer some of the most Googled questions about the Lagina brothers.

How did the Lagina brothers make their money?

In 2006, Rick and Marty purchased a 50% stake of Oak Island Tours Inc., the company that owns the island, with Oak Island resident Dan Blankenship retaining the other 50%. That was when their treasure hunting days began. Before that, the brothers had two very different careers.

Marty: Born in Kingsford, Michigan, Marty studied Science and Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech. After graduating in 1977, he went on to work for the Amoco Production Company, a major oil firm. Whilst working as an engineer for them he gained a degree in law from the University of Michigan in 1982. He then went on to found his own company, Terra Energy Ltd, which became a pioneer in natural gas extraction. As a result, the company became one of the biggest shale gas operators in Michigan State.

In 1995, Marty sold the company to CMS Energy for around $60m. With the proceeds he purchased shares of Chartwell Properties L.L.C, making him the main shareholder. He also used some of the money to start a new company in 2004 called Heritage Sustainable, a clean energy provider. The company has grown to become one of the largest providers of renewable energy in the State of Michigan and one of the largest wind turbine companies in the Midwest.

Also in the early 2000s he set up another company in Michigan, this time focussed on wine production. What began as a 3-acre winery called Row 7, it has now expanded to become Villa Mari Vineyards, with over 60-acres of vineyards.

Rick: Like his younger brother, Rick was born in Kingsford, Michigan. He would go on to become a U.S. postal worker before retiring and taking up the hunt on Oak Island. A fiercely private man, nothing much else is known about his life past or present.

Are the Lagina brothers married?

Marty: Yes, married to Olivia. They have two children together, Alex and Maddie.

Rick: Unknown

Why did the Lagina brothers go to Oak Island?

At the age of 11, Rick used to go to the local library once a week. On one such visit he picked up and read the January 1965 edition of Reader’s Digest. He came across an article about Oak Island, which mentioned the legend of the treasure supposedly buried there, including details about the famed Money Pit. From that moment on Rick was hooked and became obsessed with uncovering the mystery. 

Marty was also interested in Oak Island, but was more sceptical than his older brother. However, Marty wanted his brother to achieve his lifetime goal and so he put up the majority of the money to purchase the stake in Oak Island Tours Inc.

What is the Lagina brother’s net worth?

Rick: Multiple online sources value Rick’s net worth at around $2 million (£1.6 million), the majority of which has been earned since The Curse of Oak Island began back in 2014.

Marty: Before the TV show began, Marty was estimated to have a net worth of around $40-$60 million (£32-47 million). However, the success of the show has led to most estimates growing to as much as $100 million (£79 million).

How much have the Lagina brothers spent on Oak Island?

It’s hard to know for sure since the sum that Rick and Marty paid to gain a 50% share of Oak Island Tours Inc. has always been undisclosed. However, estimates have been made about how much they spend on their drilling and digging operations each year.

The brothers were granted their treasure-trove license back in July 2010, which allowed them to commence their search at the end of that same year. Being a purely summer endeavour, since the Nova Scotia winters make digging near impossible, the brothers have currently had eight summers searching on Oak Island. They’re known for using sophisticated technology and bringing in global experts to aid in their quest, none of which come cheaply. The amount they’ve spent has also clearly increased over the years, with The Curse of Oak Island showing bigger and better tech coming onto the island every year.

Speaking of equipment…

What is the most expensive equipment the Lagina brothers have used on Oak Island?

The massive drilling rigs, worth hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, which are getting even bigger for series six, are by far the most expensive pieces of equipment that the brothers have brought onto the island. The excavators and diggers they’ve used to shift the earth come in a close second. 

What are the biggest finds on The Curse of Oak Island?

Up until the end of series five, the brothers have uncovered a number of historically significant items. 

In series one, after draining a man-made swamp they discovered a Spanish 8 Maravedis coin dating to 1652. In the same series, they also found some non-indigenous coconut fibres, discovered after they dove into Smith’s Cove. This discovery hinted at the fact that the original creators of the Money Pit originated from more tropical lands.

Series five saw what was arguably the biggest find of the whole show, a medieval lead cross that could literally re-write history if it could help prove evidence that the Knights Templar visited Nova Scotia. A metal detector also uncovered an old jewellery fragment, which contained a 500-year-old Rhodolite Garnet stone, whilst the Money Pit gave up two human bones. DNA sequencing revealed one of the bones came from someone with Middle Eastern ancestry, boosting the link with the Knights Templar and Oak Island. A piece of leather was also found, suggested to be from a bookbinding, aiding the theory that the treasure under Oak Island could perhaps be some sort of manuscript. 

The Curse of Oak Island returns Wednesday 9th January at 9pm.