Here we will periodically share articles and extracts from the SA Treasure Magazine to give you a look into the beginning and development of the hobby of treasure detecting in South Africa. You will be introduced to the individuals, metal detectors and the businesses that played a role from then to now.
The first issue of the SA Treasure Magazine, Vol 1, No 1 was published in Nov/Dec 1986.
The Publisher was E. Beaton Esq. and the Editor J.H.R Harris.
The Editors Note in this very first issue read as follows:
The introduction of S.A. Treasure to the adventurous South African market is meant to stimulate interest and excitement in our country’s history and heritage. At the same time it will be shown that treasure and relic hunting can also be extremely profitable. Over the next few issues we will be examining in depth various sites and methods of exploiting them to maximum advantage.
The most important thing of all to remember is that our heritage and country is precious.
- So DON’T help to deface or destroy it!!
- Digging areas must be left in the same condition in which they were found, eg. Fill up you holes! Don’t dig on National monument sites and always but always ask the farmer or landowners permission before embarking on a project!
Treasure and relic hunting is one of the more enjoyable and healthy hobbies and is well within the range of most of our pockets.
Let us know how you are doing by dropping us a line together with photos – Who Knows, your find could feature in the next issue!
In these early years, Fisher Metal Detectors and Garret Metal Detectors were the first go-to detectors. The Importer and Distributor of Garrett Metal Detectors was Deco Electronics in Durban. The owner was E. Beaton, also the Publisher of SA Treasure. In this first issue, advertisements of the Garret Master Hunter 7, Garrett Freedom Ace Coin Commander and Garrett Sea Hunter XL200 Pulse, lead the way. Very soon Fisher Metal Detectors and Minelab Metal Detectors would be introduced to the South Africa Metal Detector market. It was only much later that other Metal Detector brands like Teknetics, Nokta, Makro, Nokta Makro with Nokta Makro Simplex and Nokta Makro Gold Kruizer and much later XP Metal Detectors with XP Deus and XP ORX found their way into the South Africa Metal Detector market.
From this first issue of SA Treasure, we selected an article that warns against the practice of some people looking down on someone with a metal detector who is busy scanning the beach or historical site. Enjoy!
“Before you scoff at the idea of buried treasure and write it off completely, consider the following instances of treasures that have been uncovered over the years without the aid of the sophisticated instruments that are available today. Then consider also some of the treasures that still await recovery and are within easy reach of the modern metal detector. Would you say no to a tin full of gold and silver coins?
Is the Bowker Silver Still There?
If you are still sceptical about the idea of buried treasure, pause for a moment an consider some of the extraordinary finds that have been uncovered in South Africa over the decades. Bearing these in mind, one cannot dismiss the possibility of thousands of rands worth of treasure that has managed to elude treasure seekers to date, scattered deep beneath the South African soil.
Ours is a young country compared to most other nations of the world, and yet a country that can boast a rich and colourful history: from the earliest trading ships wrecked along our coasts, to the costly silverware hastily buried by Dutch families fleeing from raiding tribes, to the vast amounts of money mislaid in the chaos of the
Where Did Francis Fynn Bury His Ivory Hoard?
Anglo-Boer War, the land beneath our feet has become a fascinating treasure trove.
It is every treasure hunter’s dream to discover lost hoards of gold: for many this dream has come true. In 1911 two workmen laying down the foundations of the Union Buildings on Meinties Kop, Pretoria, uncovered two boxes filled with gleaming gold bars. As a reward they were granted half the value of their find.
Sixteen pounds’ worth of gold Kruger pounds were uncovered by two Black people at Harrismith in 1949; a cooking pot crammed with Kruger gold and Victorian sovereigns was dug up at Louis Trichardt in 1951; Early in World War II a Pietermaritzburg gardener started turning over golden sovereigns and half sovereigns with a spade.
Booty from mine thefts in and around Johannesburg has often come to light years after the crimes were forgotten. A lump of Amalgam worth well over thousand pounds was dug up in the garden of the mine it was stolen from, whilst on the old Geldenhuys mine site, a curious schoolboy turned over a stone and
The Kruger Millions
Where? Where? Where?
Found himself staring at a bar of gold.
So far we have only discussed the finds, but what of those buried treasure legends handed down from father to son? What actually happened to the bags of British Military wages that were allegedly hidden up the Hattinspruit koppie when the Boers attacked, and were never heard of again? Did “Wilde” Steyn really forget where he hid his gold Kruger pounds during his years of being a British prisoner of war, or did his son uncover the treasure with the help of a farm labourer who was seen changing a Kruger sovereign in the town?
Then there is the legend of the Bowker silver that was buried in an
1 Gold Pound Yesterday
=+ R400 Today!
antbear hole in the Albany district shortly before the homestead was looted and burned – the tree marking the spot was indistinguishable among the scourged lands. And there was ivory. Somewhere along the banks of a Zululand river Henry Francis Fynn buried an enormous hoard of ivory.
And The Soldiers
When he returned 25 years later, he failed to locate the spot.
Treasure hunters of the past had no aid in their quest for buried treasure other than legends and tales like these and no equipment other than forks and spades. The 20th cent has seen the birth of the electronic treasure hunter equipped with sophisticated metal detectors that scan the earth using electromagnetic fields. The earth can
The Gardiner Found
no longer conceal its treaures from this electronic searcher; treasure huntin is no longer restricted to the dedicated explorer.
The world of metal detecting has a place for men, women and children from every walk of life – those people who know that their share of the trasure beneath the earth is only a signal away.
Two superb examples of SA’s missing millions! (Left) A well preserved Gold Pound, and (Right) a very rare Kruger “Kaal Pond”, unminted Gold Discs valued today at over R2,000.00 each!
This is Lukas van der Merwe, aka “The General”. (When he still had (more) hair – and a torch!). Lukas would over the next 40-years become the Commander-in-Chief of the (real) Treasure Metal Detectorists in South Africa, responsible for the establishment of the Historical Metal Detectives movement with the mission – To Save the History! Over the past 40-years he has worked tirelessly to achieve this! The Metal Detector Info Centre that he has established on his farm in the Eastern Cape is the monument that will forever be evidence of this. The Historical Metal Detectives annual organised hunts, in collaboration with Minelab South Africa as well as the annual organised Minelab events, can never be copied, outdone or replaced. However hard others are trying and even claiming!
The General, the title can never be surrendered, can never be replaced.