For 50 years, Keith Wills, has enjoyed many facets of treasure hunting. From diving on Spanish shipwrecks off the Florida & Bahaman coast to prospecting for silver nuggets in northern Canada, detecting and dredging gold in several states in the USA. From metal detecting old western forts, to artifact hunting in southern Mexico, his experiences have taken him to many points across the continent and allowed him to use many types of treasure hunting equipment. He is now one of the oldest patriarchs of this hobby and has started many young hunters on the path of being a "Treasure Finder". They always seek him out to help identify finds, and to learn tips & tricks of the hobby that only a seasoned treasure finder would know.
Life Magazine did a feature on him as one of the Best Treasure Hunters in the United States in March 2004. Just in the area he lives in, he has found 9 buried gold coins, 11 hidden containers of money, silver coins to numerous to count, tokens and artifacts of extreme rarity& value and his most unusual find to date is a rare metallic meteorite appraised at $138,000.
Keith was an industrial electronic engineer for 15 years with a number of degrees and honors. In 1982 he started East Texas Metal Detectors (www.brokendetector.com), his own business as an electronic technician, repairing and selling metal detectors.
He is also very involved in local, state and national treasure hunting organizations, like:
- The National Organization "Legislation Connection" he started 1983-1990.
- The FMDAC National organization South Central Chapter President 1989-1996 and VP 1997-1999.
- He was WWATS " World Wide Association of Treasure Seekers" President from 2008-2015 and VP 2016-2017.
- Keith was President of Texas Council of Treasure Clubs 4 years 1993, 1994, 1999, 2001 & VP 2003-2004.
- He has founded over 8 clubs around the area states, and has been a member of 11 clubs annually for many years.
- He has 24 years as a club or organizational officer in the hobby.
- He was President of East Texas Treasure Hunters Assoc. Longview, Texas For 4 years 1987-1991 and 1999- 2001 where he initiated such programs like Adopt a Park Sept 1987 "Pals" program (Teague Park); Shiners Crippled Children Hospital club donation of 17,400 pennies in a wheel barrel; Certification program for "crime scene" search and other community programs.
- Rusk County Treasure Hunters Henderson, Texas Pres. 2006-2008, 2010-2012 and VP 2017.
He has been presented many awards and appreciations over the years (over 30), but none so moving as his work with handicapped children for the Texas Lions Club that he and Nolan Underwood started in 1992.
Keith has spent uncountable hours and dollars fighting those that oppose our hobby of metal detecting and prospecting, keeping Open Lands open for recreational use, and fighting the fights in court rooms/state capitals/ and Washington D.C. He helps organize communication networks so as to stay on top of new and proposed laws that would affect the use of metal detectors and prospecting. In 1989, he went to Washington D.C. and sat down with law makers to create a law which allows Metal Detecting "nationwide" on Army Corp of Engineer lands (public use areas). This is the only Metal Detecting policy made and still in effect nationwide with the government to date.
Currently he water hunts and land hunts unusual areas, ghost towns, and other areas only known to him from his years of research. His research knowledge alone would be very valuable to anyone. He has YEARS of experience and can "read" a site that you're on, and can tell you where to go to find the treasure. It is a learned experiential skill that he tries to pass on to new treasure hunters.
Keith's greatest legacy to this hobby will be all the years spent repairing nationwide broken detectors, his skill in law making decisions for the hobby and keeping the hobby alive by imparting knowledge and wisdom about treasure hunting that only experience can give. With the many 10 published articles and on the cover of 3 national treasure magazines and LIFE, he has always tried to help the treasure hunter improve their skills and finds.