Fargo man finds rare Spanish coin from 1700s near Red River

FARGO--Craig Cline of Fargo has done his share of treasure hunting. The carpenter-handyman and his metal detector have searched Fargo-Moorhead parks and fields looking for that one rare part of our past. Well, he found it. "Looks like an old toke...

FARGO-Craig Cline of Fargo has done his share of treasure hunting.

The carpenter-handyman and his metal detector have searched Fargo-Moorhead parks and fields looking for that one rare part of our past. Well, he found it.

"Looks like an old token," Treasure hunter Craig Cline said.

And he often hits pay-dirt.

"Beautiful pieces to find," Cline said, ringing an old bell he found.

In our local parks and playgrounds, he finds some real doozies.

"That was President Benjamin Harrison about 15-inches down, it was two pieces and it used to have a lid on it to strike the matches on," Cline commented while holding up a metal cutout of Harrison.

But nothing prepared him for his latest find.

"I was about done and I saw this apple tree and thought..." Cline said. "For this, I got a signal, and I thought it was a penny."

He thought it was just another pioneer relic.

"So I dig a plug around 6-8 inches around and I flip it over and see the edge of silver, and I thought this could be good," Cline said.

But this was different.

"I cleaned it off and there was a hole, the coin about the size of a quarter," Cline said.

It was a Spanish Real coin from the early 1700's, featuring King Phillip, found along the Red River in North Fargo, possibly from the time Spaniards or French explorers were trading with Native Americans.

"I could not believe it because Spanish Silver is really old and the Holy Grail of for a metal detector guy like myself," Cline said.

And Cline noticed another clue that this coin was really old, the hole at the top of the coin. Back in the day men did not have pockets in their pants, so they sewed coins into their clothing.

"I have seen them pulled from the shores of Florida and on the east coast on videos, I've seen on YouTube, but never around Fargo. We have found 1850s, or 1840s, even in Minnesota and ND alone, it is rare," Cline said.

It is all part of the hunt.

"Right there and then it was like, I hit it. It was 'Pirate's Treasure' to me, I really thought," Cline said.

But this was different, finding this Spanish reale was the real deal.

"If you look at the top of it the crown from the Spanish reales is here, and the shield is here. Very smooth for 300 years in the ground," Cline said while pointing out small pieces on the coin.

A peek into our past, a chance for us to imagine life along our riverbanks, 300 years ago.

"The history, That is what I love, pulling the history from the ground, and preserving it," Cline said.

Cline said he has contacted archivists at the Clay County museum in Moorhead and experts at MSUM, about the coin.