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Gold prospector 'Lucky' Blackiet

Gold prospector ‘Lucky’ Blackiet

April 5, 1934: Gold prospector “Lucky” Blackiet posing in the Los Angeles Times photo studio.

Blackiet is one of those great characters who appear, then disappear, from the pages of the Los Angeles Times.

This photo accompanied a short story on Blackiet in the April 6, 1934 Los Angeles Times:

A broken pair of buggy wheels accounted for the visit to Los Angeles yesterday of “Lucky” Blackiet, 79 years of age and hale and hearty after a lifetime spent prospecting the West from lower California to Alaska.

Blackiet, who says he has made and lost eight fortunes, one of them amounting to $5,000,000, will be on his way again as soon as he gets his wheels and, once on his way, “try and find me.”

Last June, “Lucky” baffled the combined talents of the United States District Attorney’s office and Department of Justice with the question of whether or not he was subject, as a miner, to the $100 limit placed on gold “hoarding” by Presidential decree. Federal officials promised to obtain an opinion from Atty.-Gen. Cummings but Blackiet says he hasn’t found out yet.

“They admitted I could sell gold to a foreign country,” says the grizzled prospector, “but when I asked them ‘Well if I can sell it, why can’t I keep it?’ that seemed to stop ’em.

“Only knowin’ common sense, myself,” adds Lucky, “I can’t answer it either.”

An earlier June 16, 1933 article reported that Lucky – then named “Lucky Blacky” – had inquired at the Federal Building regarding hoarding gold. He did not get an answer.

April 5, 1934: Gold prospector “Lucky” Blackiet in the Los Angeles Times photo studio. Credit: Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive/UCLA

In 1936, Blackiet was back in the news. He reported meeting the missing New York Judge Joseph F. Crater near his homestead at Santa Ysabel, four miles from Warner Hot Springs. Judge Crater had disappeared on Aug. 6, 1930 in New York City. Judge Crater sightings were reported all over the country and world.

For several days in Aug. 1936, Blackiet led a search party of police and journalists around the desert. Judge Crater was not located.

In this July 24, 2005 article A Judge Crater Nugget with a California Twist, staff writer Cecilia Rasmussen reported on the search.

Los Angeles Times staff photographer William Snyder made this portrait below of Lucky Blackiet during the search for Judge Crater. Snyder’s photo was published in the Aug. 30, 1936 Los Angeles Times and then accompanied Rasmussen’s article.

Aug. 29, 1936: Lucky Blackiet, leader of manhunt in San Diego County for missing New York Judge Joseph Crater, with two burros he claimed were used by the jurist. This photo was published in the Aug. 30, 1936 Los Angeles Times. Credit: William Synder/Los Angeles Times.

Blackiet’s last mention in the Los Angeles Times was in a Sept. 12, 1937 article on another Judge Crater sighting.

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