Paul Tainter, Mr. Treasure…

I’ve always been big on research and trying to make my trip out into the field more efficient time wise, but no one is better at it than my good friend Paul Tainter. Paul probably knows more about treasure than anyone else out there.

He’s not only read about them, researched them and he’s hunted them. His library, or “man cave” if you will, is filled with books, manuscripts, magazines, microfiche and maps, much of it not available anywhere else….the kind of stuff you and I would drool over.


Just one room of Paul’s massive collection

I first met Paul and his wife Joan back in the 80’s, when they owned Research Unlimited (formerly Exanimo), in Ames, Nebraska. They invited me to be part of Treasure Expo, an annual event that attracted the treasure hunting greats of the time. Needless to say I was honored. Treasure Expos were legendary, lots of fun and something you had to experience to appreciate.


Just a few of the participants in the early Expos…Michael Paul Henson, Richard Ray, Carl Fismer, Glenn Carson, Abe Lincoln, Bill Smith, Jimmy Sierra, Phil Caldwell, Jim Detloff and Paul Tainter.

I have stayed in touch with Paul and Joan over the years, and while both have retired, Paul still writes the “Treasure Hunter’s Express”, a quarterly newsletter, filled with stories, tips and useful information. When not in the field, or when winter snows come, you will find him in his library, books, pad and pencil at hand, and if his library doesn’t provide the answer he will turn to his treasure hunting friends, of which there are many. Old timers, seasoned and savvy when it comes to treasure hunting, who like Paul, know what it takes to find the big one. Just don’t ask them about it.


I know there are still a lot of older TH’ers out there who know Paul or at least remember the Exanimo Express newspaper and Treasure Hunter’s Express. While the new version is smaller, it still offers a lot of great reading and food for thought. I miss a lot of what happened early on in this pastime, but Paul doesn’t let me forget thanks to his quarterly newsletter. The latest issue also features a guest article “The Cache Hunter” by Missouri Nick.

The Treasure Hunter’s Express is published quarterly and costs $20 per year. If you like, Paul will send you a sample issue for $3. For more information email Paul at or write him to at Treasure Trove Archives, 335 North William Avenue, Fremont, Nebraska 68025

No matter those of you who think you know all about metal detecting/treasure hunting, the groundwork was laid by people like Paul Tainter, and I am proud to be his friend

Paul & Joan Tainter today

Paul & Joan Tainter today



I saw this article yesterday and had to laugh. I love the idea that archaeologists are upset over having competition! I say bring it on.



Filed under Metal Detecting

14 responses to “Paul Tainter, Mr. Treasure…

  1. Dick, this topic came up over the weekend. Good research is priceless and it seems like Paul is spot on. I would love to go through his collections and hear the stories that go along with them.

    • Steve you can go out blindly, find the odd coin/relic here & there, but if you want to experience exciting days and great finds you must research first. And I too would love to spend a few days going through Paul’s collection. In fact I offered him $50 for everything and would you believe he turned me down?

      If you ever have a questions don’t hesitate to contact Paul. He and Joan are always willing to help others.

  2. I concur research is a key component to great finds. I’ll be emailing Paul to have a look at the newsletter. Thanks!

  3. Mike Slater

    What a great article. I’ve been privileged to have known Paul since the 80’s and bump into him on occasions at Club meetings. Its great fun discussing research with him and we’ve talked about someday chasing down a few leads. Thanks for the article!!!

  4. coin25...aka Bigtony

    Good article, thanks for sharing. With so many distractions these days and time is limited – I know what I must do to achieve better finds or even a cache! Now that would be awesome for 2015!

  5. Hola Ricardo:

    As you know, I have always maintained the US is treasure hunting’s spiritual home, and people of the calibre of Paul Tainter, ‘Hardrock’ Hendricks, Karl von Meuller, Charles Garrett, Ty Brook, Jimmy Sierra, and Glen Carson to name just a few…… along with some guy from Noo Joisey whose name I can’t recall ..Rick, or Mick , or some such (he still owes me twenty Bucks), were in effect, the inspirational High Priests. All have carved their names into the history of treasure hunting.

    Many thanks Paul for inspiring me way back! Long may you reign!

    John Howland
    (Treasure Hunter)

  6. Wendell Ellerbee

    I’ve read about a lot of these old timers, some of them have passed on and wish I could have met and learned from some of them.  I didn’t get into this hobby until December-2007, don’t get out much, and research is the one category that I feel very inept at.  I can find some things, often enough to whet my appetite, but never seem to find the main course.  Think I will sign up for Paul’s newsletter.

  7. I’m a lot like Wendell here, I got into this late in the game. Good news is I have a lot of years ahead of me but man has treasure hunting changed. I was thinking recently this generation has no Karl von Mueller, no Gene Ballinger, no H Glenn Carson, no Frank Fish. Names that people recognized and revered and that people stood up and took notice when they heard it. Gone are the days of the famous Shepherd’s Mall treasure expos. Even more troubling is how many that have left us, did so under horrible circumstances. I appreciate you sharing these photos enormously.

    I got my start in the oddest of ways. When I was maybe 8 or 9, my father went into the hospital. Don’t recall why, but dad had a habit of buying me stuff to keep me occupied while he was in the hospital…usually it was coloring books or word searches. Never followed sports so when he went to the gift shop he bought me three treasure hunting magazines on a whim. I read those suckers until the covers fell off. If you remember the old TV show “In Search Of,” they did a show on the Lost Dutchman and another on Oak Island. Any time those were on reruns I had to watch them. Years later Robert Stack hosted “Unsolved Mysteries,” that’s how I got turned onto the Treasure at Victorio Peak.

    Great times…

  8. Stuart peek

    How do I get in touch with mr tainter?

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