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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Carinus as Caesar

CNG 111, Lot: 791. Estimate $15000.
Sold for $22000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Carinus. As Caesar, AD 282-283. AV Aureus (19mm, 4.67 g, 12h). Siscia mint. 1st emission, AD 282. M AVR CARINVS NOB CAES, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust left, seen from behind, holding spear and shield decorated with horseman riding left, spearing fallen enemy / MARS V LTOR, Mars advancing right, holding spear in right hand, shield in left. RIC V 188; Pink VI/2, p. 42; Calicó 4349; Biaggi –; Hunterian –; Jameson –; Mazzini –. Choice EF, reddish tone, tiny deposits on reverse. Very rare.

From the Brexit Collection.

Carinus is either one of Rome’s most depraved emperors, or one of its most unfairly maligned. The view of him as a despoiler of women and corrupter of youth likely stems from the effective propaganda of his successor, Diocletian. In reality, Carinus would seem to have had little time in his brief reign to engage in the kind of debauchery assigned to him by the notoriously unreliable Historia Augusta. The evidence provided by his coinage depicts him as a typical military man of the age, always en route to, engaging in, or celebrating victory in battle. This rare aureus depicts Carinus in a fully military pose, holding a shield and spear as if to confront Rome’s enemies head-on. The reverse shows Mars, god of war, on the march with shield and spear, probably reflecting Carinus’s departure for the Gallic frontier in mid AD 282.