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An "Aberrant Type" Carausius

Roman Collector

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A few years ago, I acquired this antoninianus of Carausius. It's a bit strange because there are no mint or field marks whatsoever and it is not listed in RIC or Sear. The reverse type is the mirror image of RIC 927.


I contacted Sam Moorhead of the British Museum, who is currently writing the new edition of the relevant volume of RIC, which will provide a much-needed update about the coinage of Carausius. He replied:

"This coin is probably irregular, but I am including such pieces in an ‘Aberrant Type’ section because the line between official and irregular gets really blurred with Carausius. There are numerous types with PAX AVG which are not the standard branch and sceptre types. It is the tenth specimen I have recorded of such a piece. There were two in the Blackmoor Hoard (20440-1) and the BM, Ashmolean and Fitzwilliam all have examples, so yours is in good company!"

Carausius PAX AVG antoninianus.jpg
Carausius, AD 286-293.
Roman billon antoninianus, 2.91 g, 21.2 mm, 3 h.
Uncertain British mint.
Obv: IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate (draped and cuirassed?) bust, right.
Rev: PAX AVG, Pax standing left, holding olive branch and cornucopiae.
Refs: RIC --; RCV --.
Notes: Other specimens of this type in: Blackmoor Hoard (20440-1), the British Museum, Ashmolean Museum (Oxford) and Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge).

Let's see your coins of Carausius!

Edited by Roman Collector
I have OCD
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Bronze Coin (AE Antoninianus) minted during the reign of CARAUSIUS between 287 - 293 A.D. Obv. IMP.C.CARAVSIVS.P.F.AVG.: rad., dr. & cuir. bust r. Rev. PAX.AVG.: Pax stg. l., holding olive-branch & vertical sceptre, in field SP. RCS #3579. RICV #475 pg.504. DVM #24.




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Here is my "Odd" Carausius that I bought as part of a lot recently.

Obv: IMP CIIRIIIISIIIS P F IIVG for IMP CARAVSIVS PF AVG, Radiate cuirassed bust right
Rev: PAX AVG, Pax standing left, holding olive-branch and vertical sceptre
Likely an irregular / barbarous issue in good style, F-O//[C or possibly ML] . A.D. 287-293
Reference:– cf. RIC V-2, London 101 or similar

Weight 3.03g. 23.48mm. 180 degrees


I discussed the coin on Forvm with a respected Carausius collector known as Mauseus.

This is his opinion on the coin.

"Can I first say nice coin and interesting bust with the decorated cuirass over the shoulder, somewhat similar to trabaea decoration.

I think your coin is irregular, given the style of the lettering and die cutting, although the bust detailing is good. By the time you get to the F/O//ML marks, and this is what I anticipate yours is (F/O//C is extremely unusual) the London mint was quite competent in style and, although lettering  is still a little blocky the letter forms are recognisable, something not evident on the obverse of your coin. For example, all the A letters are unbarred. Having said all that, I could be almost swayed to official but poorer style."

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Interesting thread! I don't have any Carausii but if I were going to get just one, I'd love to have one that was the subject of correspondence with the RIC author from the Brit Museum! (I keep a provenance/research file with stuff like that for any coin or book/catalog that merits it.)

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