The Curse of Oak Island

Four fascinating facts about Curse of Oak Island's Gary Drayton

Some call him the Metal Detecting Ninja, some call him Mr Bobby Dazzler. Either way, it’s fair to say Gary Drayton is a key member of Oak Island’s 'Fellowship of the Dig', sharing Marty and Rick Lagina’s dream of uncovering the long-buried secrets of this fabled slice of Nova Scotia.

Grimsby-born Gary has certainly come a long way since he first startled metal detecting on British riverbanks. He’s lived in the United States for years, establishing himself as an authority among treasure hunters (and – even more importantly – introducing Americans to the phrase 'bobby dazzler'). Here are some more things every Oak Island fan should know about the intrepid chap.

1 He’s worth around $2.5 million (ish)

Gary’s dedication to his craft has paid dividends. He’s estimated to be worth between $2 million and $3 million, so – as we’re not privy to his bank balance – we’ll average things out and call it $2.5 million. Gary has made his fortune through a number of income streams. Starring in The Curse of Oak Island, one of the most popular documentary shows on television, is certainly a big one. But he’s also written books, made numerous public appearances, and – of course – has uncovered more than his fair share of valuable treasures. Speaking of which…

2 He once found a half-million dollar ring

Gary Drayton’s most celebrated find is an emerald ring worth a whopping $500,000. Crafted from 22-and-a-half carat Inca gold and set with nine glittering emeralds, the ring was being transported to Spain from the New World when the galleon was lost in a hurricane close to the coast of Florida. The year was 1715, which shows how it is indeed very possible for a determined metal detectorist to find incredible treasures after a sweep of centuries. As far as Gary is concerned, the ring ranks as his 'ultimate bobby dazzler'.

3 He got his start as a mudlark

Gary may now live a glamorous life in the United States, but he got started as a humble mudlark on the riverbanks and coasts of England. Mudlarking is, of course, the fine art of trudging around in mud and shallow waters to seek out historical items and potentially precious artefacts. For young Gary, it meant getting knee-deep in Victorian trash pits, rooting around for bottles and clay pipes dating back several centuries. He once even came across a perfume bottle from the days of Roman Britain. The seminal moment came when he found a 'shiny 1789 gold guinea' – this finally inspired him to invest in a metal detector, and the rest is history. (Literally.)

4 He has a major passion for Spanish treasure

Gary has a special fascination for the Age of Discovery, which sprawls from the 15th to the 18th centuries, and saw European nations embark on world-changing voyages to the New World. As a treasure hunter, Gary is particularly interested in the exploits of Spanish conquistadors, and he has rich pickings along the Florida coast where jewels, silver and gold collected by the Spanish adventurers still wash up. Gary has even written a book on the subject. Its title? Metal Detecting for Spanish Treasure, naturally.