The Treasure Hunter
Treasure hunting appears to be a glamorous way to work in the coin business full time, but it has its risks and can be costly. People have died attempting to salvage underwater treasure. There is significant cost involved, but the rewards can be spectacular as well.
A Financial Gamble
Think about it. If you are involved in underwater salvage you need a ship, sonar, personnel skilled in diving, diving equipment, insurance, and some very strong financial backers who may not be reimbursed for years, if ever.
You as the treasure hunter should not expect to be paid anything until first you find some treasure, recover it, prepare it for market, and sell it. This can take years. How long can you survive without some other source of income or significant savings? This is not something for the person making monthly payments on a house or with a family to support!
Research and Guesswork
Finding a treasure worth excavating takes research alongside some good old-fashioned guesswork. Depending on where you intend to search, you may require foreign language capabilities to research a lost ship, caravan, or whatever. The reliability of the documents you research is in question as well. This can take time and money.
Treasure Hunters Versus Governments
Governments, including that of the United States, have at times attempted to lay claim to a treasure after a professional treasure hunter has gone to the time and trouble to locate and salvage it. There have been costly court battles regarding ownership of such finds not only between the finder and the government, but with people who claim the treasure due to its previous ownership by an ancestor. Under the circumstances it is amazing treasure hunters succeed as well as they often do.
British treasure trove laws, as an example, allow the finder to keep the find under certain circumstances, while under other circumstances reward the finder with a fee from the price realized once the find has been sold. Not all governments are this generous, which is why sometimes such finds are kept secret and sold discretely.
Treasure hunting can be extremely profitable, but it can be a long, hard task getting to the payday.