ID Help - Carausius

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by zumbly, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I was pleased to get this Carausius, my first one of any sort, in a recent large group lot buy. I was less pleased when I couldn't attribute it, even after going through RIC, Dane's massive spreadsheet on his coins, and all the usual online databases.

    It measures 19.8mm and 2.4g, and has a decent enough portrait (though having looked through hundreds of his coins, I can't say I can tell official from unofficial). But then the problems start, with the obverse legend seeming to just read IMP CARAVSIVS P A. On the reverse, I'm at a loss as to which deity it is (Pax? Hilaritas?... holding cornucopia and turkey drumstick??). Annoyingly, I also cannot make head or tail of the reverse legend.

    I understand unofficial output in the name of Carausius was huge, so I'm going to guess this is one of them. If I'm missing something here, or if anyone has any further info on Carausius’s unofficial issues, I'd appreciate the help.

    Carausius - Unofficial Pax 2717.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  3. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Pleasing enough coin, but at a loss to help you Z. Just looked in CNG archives (as you probably have) and no clues there.
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  4. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Yup, didn't see anything like it there either, but thanks for taking the time to look. :)
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  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My go-to suggestion is the CNG sale of the J.S. Vogelaar collection.

    I did not see yours but he had more things I have never seen elsewhere than is easy to imagine. Carausius is not a good area to collect for people with condition standards or who expect to find the coins in references. My first thought was a Pietas but that did not turn up anything either.
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  6. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    You might try going to and looking for "carausius cornucopia". I can't tell whether that's supposed to be a torch or a palm branch in her right hand, but if you can figure that out, maybe add that term, too, to help narrow it down.

    But I agree that the most likely explanation is that it's a barbarous imitation.
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  7. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    i like the coin, but can offer no help z :)
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  8. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Thanks, those searches were some of what I tried without success. I've yet to find any cornucopiae-bearing goddess holding anything remotely similar in her other hand.

    Just for future reference, and in the event anyone stumbles on this page looking for info on Carausius, I found these pages useful:
    (includes a list of references, some available online)
    Mauseus's extensive gallery of Carausius coins
  9. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    My bet is that it's supposed to be Hilaritas holding a palm branch. There is an issue of Allectus with this reverse, including cornucopia (CNG image):

    Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 7.24.06 AM.jpg

    So maybe the unofficial mint muled this reverse with a Carausius obverse.

    Very neat coin!
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  10. Bert Gedin

    Bert Gedin Well-Known Member

    Hi zumbly. I don't know much, if anything, about this guy. May I suggest you google "Carausius Unofficial Coins". I did, and a number of useful replies resulted. In particular, an article by C.E. King, headed "The Unmarked Coins of Carausius", 5 pages. that should tell you as much as you'd want to know about Carausius' coins - and more !!!
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  11. dadams

    dadams Well-Known Member

    My vote is for Hilaritas standing left, holding palm and cornucopia.

  12. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Ha, so there is an example for Carausius! There's even this one on acsearch and presumably CNG (because it is a CNG coin):
    Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 10.53.54 AM.jpg
    Z must have been looking for one more exactly like his coin (messed up legends, turkey drumstick). :)
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  13. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Carausius - Usurper Augustus of secessionist Britain

    The Mints of Carausius

    Carausius established two Britannic mints - a primary one at London (Londinium) and one at Colchester/Camulodunum/Clausentum - "C" Mint - plus a ContinentaL mint across the Channel in Gaul These mints produced coins of distinctive style in gold, silver and bronze (mostly antoniniani).


    RIC V (2), Carausius, Antoninianus, No. 355:

    IMP C CARAVSIVS P AVG .............................................. PAX - A - VGGG | S .....P |
    C in reverse exergue

    Coin reverse legend ends in AVGGG - an attempt by Carausius to indicate that he, Diocletian and Maximian Herculius were a fraternity of co-equal Roman Emperors - not accepted by them.
    Draped, radiate, bust
    Colchester (Camulodunum/Clausentum) - "C" Mint
    3.8 gm.

    RIC V (2), Carausius, Antoninianus, No. 475:

    IMP C CARAVSIVS PF AVG ......................................... PA - X - AVG | S .....P

    Draped, radiate, bust
    London Mint.
    3.9 gm.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  14. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter


    • CARAUSIUS & ALLECTUS (The British Usurpers), P. J. Casey, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, (1994). (includes considerable coinage reference material.
    The following inexpensive book is sometimes maligned as being outdated, but it is a treasure trove of information relating to a vast number of official and unofficial Carausian coinage issues (and barbarous imitations):
    • THE COINAGE OF ROMAN BRITAIN, Gilbert Askew, Seaby, London (1951).
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  15. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Cogito Ergo Sum

    Nice coin - I have just one carausius so far.
  16. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Thanks, Bert, I’ve read that article, which was one of those in the link I gave above. It’s informative, and my coin is certainly an “unmarked” one, and most probably imitative.

    Yup, I’m leaning towards the idea that it’s supposed to be Hilaritas, but the “palm branch” and legends are so off, where in other respects the coin isn’t too far from what can pass for official. At least to my eyes, anyway, which have very little experience with Carausius, let alone unofficial.

    Thanks for sharing those excellent examples, James, and also for the info on the references. I think mine, whatever it is, seems to more closely resemble unmarked issues from the “uncertain mint”.
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