What Happened to Lost Treasure Magazine?

by Michael Bernzweig

There was a dramatic shift in the readership of magazines and newspapers in the early 2000s. As a result, content previously reserved for magazines and newspapers moved online. Online viewing has increased as physical publications have declined in readership. Magazines held on for as long as possible before they just couldn't afford to continue. One of those magazines that held on for years was Lost Treasure Magazine.

Lost Treasure Magazine was the go-to publication for detectorists. It was an icon of the metal detector realm. Detectorists from all over the world read Lost Treasure Magazine and its incredible stories. The magazine focused in particular on lost treasures of the United States. Its stories not only profiled lost and buried treasure, but the people who searched for and, in some cases, located them. Unfortunately, in 2018, Lost Treasure Magazine ceased publication. Its legacy lives on, however. It remains a popular source of material for detectorists around the globe.  

History of Lost Treasure Magazine

Lost Treasure Magazine was first published in 1966 as a monthly publication under the name True Treasure. The magazine's headquarters were in Grove, Oklahoma, a far cry from the big publishers of New York City. Yet, its headquarters in Grove gave it an air of being on the fringe. It straddled the west, where lost treasures were abundant. 

A well-known fact is that prior to the demise of Lost Treasure Magazine, its popularity as a hobby magazine was dwindling due to the decline in its readership. Nevertheless, a few specialized publications have been able to survive despite all of this. In December 2018, Lost Treasure magazine announced that it would cease publication and no longer be offered for sale. Over the course of its 50-year history, the publication has covered both the past and present experiences of treasure seekers. It is reported that the articles were authored by a number of scholars, archaeologists, and subject matter experts who identified the stories based on a clue or detailed stories.

A frequent feature of the magazine was evaluations of metal detectors that modern-day prospectors may utilize in their search for gold and a gold mine or two. The stories presented in the publication detailed the adventure of a wild bunch of characters. When it comes to metal detectors, each is a powerful tool that requires knowledge in order to use them effectively. Helping hobbyists discover lost property and exciting valuables was the key focus of the magazine.

Chronological History of Lost Treasure Magazine

Lost History Magazine started in 1966 as True Treasure. The magazine began by publishing fictional stories of the old west, but it struggled due to the content. When the magazine shifted to true-life stories of treasure hunting, True Treasure Magazine took off with readers. 

The first issue of True Treasure Magazine featured a story about treasure hunter Mel Fisher. Fisher had just begun searching for the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha. Remarkably, Fisher located the galleon 20 years later, in 1987. The find made Fisher a multi-millionaire, and Lost Treasure Magazine dedicated an entire issue to Fisher's work. 

In 1968, True Treasure Magazine became a bi-monthly publication due to its early success. From the late 1960s to the late 1970s, the magazine featured illustrations from Eugene Shortridge. The illustrations were done in watercolor and charcoal. Those early publications look very different from those of later years. 

By the mid-1970s, magazine founder John H. Latham had expanded his publication repertoire. He had a few magazines under the treasure hunting genre. In 1976, he combined True Treasure and Treasure World magazines to make Lost Treasure Magazine. 

By 1979, Latham had sold Lost Treasure Magazine to National Reporter Publications, which took the content to a new level. Eight years later, it was sold once more, this time to Lee Harris. In 1991, some of the content that had been popular in Lost Treasure was moved to Treasure Facts, a new publication. 

In 1996, the Lost Treasure Magazine website was launched. The magazine was a leader in online content and an early adopter of the Internet. 

Lost Treasure Magazine's popular columns

Lost Treasure Magazine had a number of popular, recurring columns throughout the years. Author Michael Paul Henson wrote one of these columns, which focused on state hidden treasure tales each month. State and national treasure tales were the most popular feature each month. 

A monthly metal detector review was also a popular column. Readers regularly found information regarding the latest technology and devices on the market. 

The decline of print publications

Lost Treasure Magazine experienced a generalized decline in publishing during the 2000s. A decline in readership, subscriptions, and an aging group of buyers contributed to the magazine's eventual ceasing of operations. In addition, Lost Treasure's content did not provide it with a long-term future as a niche magazine.

The Internet is rife with information about metal detectors and lost treasures. Therefore, it was easy for readers to find these types of stories online for free. Lost Treasure Magazine's metal detector reviews were biased and oftentimes were just adverts for the devices. 

When Lost Treasure Magazine went out of business, the publications website and Facebook page also ceased. The only content now available is in past articles found online and in old magazines. 

A Unique Publication

As a result of the overall decline in the print publishing industry, the journal suffered. The advent of the internet also played a role in the demise of the publication. Information regarding metal detectors is easily accessible through the Internet, and it is also much more accurate than the "reviews" in Lost Treasure, which are sometimes little more than glorified ads. In addition, anyone with an Internet connection can access the magazine's historical events for free. Furthermore, the information is far more accurate when it comes to metal detector evaluations. It was the magazine's treasure tales that sold the magazine - the idea that anyone with a metal detector could become a billionaire by discovering the next mother lode of gold ore or lost treasure ship. Long before the term existed, it was an aspirational magazine. There was no need to strike gold or even look for it to enjoy Lost Treasure magazine. A little bit of that life was revealed with each opening of Lost Treasure. The magazine was more popular for its practical advice than for its overall content.

The strength of Lost Treasure, however, was that it discussed ancient treasure hunt expeditions in terms of their relevance to modern gold prospectors and treasure hunters. Throughout the magazine, the lost riches of America was a major focus, with a special emphasis on gold lost during the War Between the States. A wide range of treasure stories was featured in the magazine. It was riveting reading about stagecoach robberies and the golden era of bank robberies that took place back then. Additionally, the magazine also featured lost mines and pirate loot that had been buried and had been unclaimed for many years. A majority of the information contained in this magazine was about buried treasures, including information about the civil war treasure, treasure hunters from all fifty states, ghost towns, and much more. Stories from North Carolina to California were contributed over the years by coin hunters and gold prospecting, and lost mine enthusiasts.

Moreover, the magazine also included columns and stories on how to find treasure using metal detectors. A number of articles about notable treasure hunters from North America and the United Kingdom were published. Several famous figures were represented in the pages of this popular magazine, including Jesse James. In addition, there were articles about treasure island, silver coins, artifacts, historical relics, pirate treasure, an occasional gold bar or two, and jewels from the golden age of outlaws.

Photographs were featured in the journal, but readers were also drawn to its unique illustration style. These were vintage-style images of anything from six-shooters to scorpions, evocative of the Old West's symbology. The magazine was truly a throwback to a bygone era. The Lost Treasure print edition has unfortunately ceased publication, not just the online version. As with the Old West, the website and Facebook page of the organization no longer exists, as well. When Lost Treasure magazine wasn't delivered for an extended period of time, there was a lot of speculation about what happened.

Current Metal Detecting Magazines

Fortunately, detectorists still have plenty of magazines to read. While the world of metal detecting lost a great publication in the form of Lost Treasure Magazine, the magazines below can fill the void. While Lost Treasure Magazine online is no longer available, the publications below are still current. If you were looking for a Lost Treasure Magazine subscription, consider one of the publications below.

Western & Eastern Treasures

Western Eastern Treasures has been in publication since 1966. It is a revered treasure hunting magazine. It is designed to inform and educate individuals in the treasure hunting community.

American Digger Magazine

A new kid on the block, American Digger Magazine, was founded in 2004. The magazine focuses on the American metal detecting scene with articles, reviews, and much more. 

The Coinhunter Magazine

Coinhunter is a Dutch-only magazine dedicated to hobbyists, old coins, gold coins, and collectors. Coinhunter has grown a fanbase of non-detectorists as well. This has led archaeological services, associations, museums, and universities to stock the magazine.

Treasure Hunting Magazine

Treasure Hunting Magazine has been in circulation since 1977. It is one of the oldest treasure magazines. The monthly magazine focuses mostly on the United Kingdom. 

The Searcher

The Searcher is an in-depth magazine dedicated to finding treasures in the United Kingdom. There is an online version of The Searcher available, along with a physical copy. 

FAQ on Lost Treasure Magazine

Where can I buy Lost Treasure Magazine?

One of the great locations to find old issues of Lost Treasure Magazine is Backissues.com. You can also find old issues of Lost Treasure Magazine at garage sales and through local treasure clubs. You may also find issues on eBay that old subscribers and collectors sell. 

What happened to Lost Treasure Magazine?

Due to a decline in Lost Treasure Magazine subscriptions and content that is easy to access online, Lost Treasure Magazine ceased operations in 2018.

Where can I Find Lost Treasure Magazine archives?

If you want to look online at the magazine's content, search the Wayback Machine

Where can I find Lost Treasure Magazine online?

Unfortunately, Lost Treasure Magazine's website and the Facebook page no longer exist. However, you can search the Wayback Machine for content.

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