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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Recovery of the Empire ▸ CarinusView Options:  |  |  | 

Carinus, First Half 283 - Spring 285 A.D.

Carinus was the son of Carus who was Praetorian prefect during the reign of Probus. After his father seized power, Carinus was raised to the rank of Caesar in October 282 and left to manage the Western provinces while his father and brother Numerian campaigned against the Persians in the east. The campaign was a success, but Carus was killed by lightning. In 285 Carinus left Rome to confront the usurper Julian I and then Diocletian, who had been declared Augustus by his troops. Carinus was nearly victorious in battle but was murdered by one of his chief officers - apparently, Carinus had seduced his wife.


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When this coin was struck in 282, Carinus was still the Prince of Youth, full of promise. Later he would be remembered as one of the worst Roman emperors. This infamy is, however, likely part fiction, supported by Diocletian himself. For example, the (unreliable) Historia Augusta has Carinus marrying nine wives, while neglecting to mention his only real wife, Magnia Urbica, by whom he had a son, Nigrinianus. After his death, Carinus' memory was officially condemned in the Roman proceeding known as Damnatio Memoriae. His name, along with that of his wife, was erased from inscriptions.
RS71588. Billon antoninianus, Venèra IV 390 (LV 4227); RIC V, part 2, 182; Cohen VI 97; Hunter III 71; Pink VI-2, p. 28; SRCV III 12302, Choice EF, most silvering remains, well centered and struck, nice portrait, some porosity, weight 4.627 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 2nd issue as caesar, 282 - 283 A.D.; obverse M AVR CARINVS NOB CAES, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PRINCIPI IVVENTVT (to the Prince of Youth), Carinus standing left, globe in extended right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand, bound captive seated left at feet on left, QXXI in exergue; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


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In Roman mythology, Aequitas was the minor goddess of fair trade and honest merchants. Aequitas was also the personification of the virtues equity and fairness of the emperor (Aequitas Augusti). The scales, a natural emblem of equity, express righteousness. The cornucopia signifies the prosperity which results from Aequitas and Aequitas Augusti.
RA84976. Billon antoninianus, La Venèra 3359 - 3362, RIC V 239, Cohen VI 6, SRCV III -, Hunter IV -, gVF, much silvering, some luster, broad flan, tiny pitting, weight 3.435 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 135o, 7th officina, Rome mint, 283 - 284 A.D.; obverse IMP CARINVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse AEQVITAS AVGG (equity of the two emperors), Aequitas standing half left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, KAZ in exergue; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


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A sum of Greek numerals E (5) and ∆ (4) is used to indicate the 9th officina in order to avoid using Θ (9). Because they sound alike, theta (Θ) was associated with Thanatos, the daemon personification of death. Theta used as a warning symbol of death, in the same way that skull and crossbones are used in modern times. It survives on potsherds used by Athenians voting for the death penalty. Also, after a funeral "Nine Days of Sorrow," were solemnly observed by the family. Romans avoided the use of theta, as we avoid the use of the number 13 today.
RL84211. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 325; Cohen VI 184; SRCV III 12362; Pink VI/2, p. 52; Hunter IV -, gVF, much silvering, well centered and struck on a tight flan, weight 3.684 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 180o, 9th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 4th emission, May - June 284 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR CARINVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Emperor standing right, short scepter in left hand, facing Jupiter (or Numerian) on right, standing left, with right hand offering Victory on globe, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, E∆ in lower center, XXI in exergue; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


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In Roman mythology, Aequitas was the minor goddess of fair trade and honest merchants. Aequitas was also the personification of the virtues equity and fairness of the emperor (Aequitas Augusti). The scales, a natural emblem of equity, express righteousness. The cornucopia signifies the prosperity which results from Aequitas and Aequitas Augusti.
RA73892. Billon antoninianus, RIC V 212, Bastien IX 533, Pink VI-2 p. 22, Cohen VI 8, SRCV III 12339, gVF, nice portrait, well struck, some silvering, weight 3.774 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 283 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR CARINVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse AEQVITAS AVGG (equity of the two emperors), Aequitas standing slightly left, scales in right hand, scepter in left hand, A (1st officina) right; ex Harlan J. Berk; $85.00 (€75.65)
 


Carinus, First Half 283 - Spring 285 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Elpis was the Greek personification of Hope. According the Hesiod's famous story, Elpis was the last to escape the Pandora's box. It can be debated whether she was really about "hope" as we understand it, or rather mere "expectation." In art, Elpis is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, and raising a fold of her dress with her left hand. Elpis' Roman equivalent was Spes. She was also named "ultima dea" - the last resort of men.

RX77915. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 4721, Curtis 1919, Geissen 3180, SNG Cop 954, SGICV 4779, VF, flan crack, reverse little off-center and struck with a broken die, corrosion, weight 7.725 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 15o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 283 - 28 Aug 284 A.D.; obverse A K M A KAPINOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse Elpis standing left, flower in right hand, raising drapery with left hand, star upper right, L - B (year 2) flanking across field; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren, ex Pegasi Numismatics; rare; $40.00 (€35.60)
 


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The Roman poet Ovid tells the story of the Phoenix: 'Most beings spring from other individuals; but there is a certain kind which reproduces itself. The Assyrians call it the Phoenix. It does not live on fruit or flowers, but on frankincense and odoriferous gums. When it has lived five hundred years, it builds itself a nest in the branches of an oak, or on the top of a palm tree. In this it collects cinnamon and spikenard, and myrrh, and of these materials builds a pile on which it deposits itself, and dying, breathes out its last breath amidst odors. From the body of the parent bird, a young Phoenix issues forth, destined to live as long a life as its predecessor. When this has grown up and gained sufficient strength, it lifts its nest from the tree (its own cradle and its parent's sepulcher), and carries it to the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, and deposits it in the temple of the Sun.'
RB50696. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 244; Cohen VI 10; Pink VI-2, pp. 38 - 39; SRCV III 12340; Hunter IV -, aVF, weight 3.089 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Rome mint, 5th emission, 284 - 285 A.D.; obverse IMP CARINVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse AETERNIT AVG, Aeternitas standing left, Phoenix on globe in right hand, raising robe with left, KAΓ in exergue; $36.00 (€32.04)
 







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

MAVRCARINVSNOBCAES
IMPCMAVRCARINVSNOBC
IMPCARINVSPFAVG
IMPCMAVRCARINVSAVG
IMPCCARINVSPFAVG
IMPCMAVRCARINVSPFAVG


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Bastien, P. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon. De la réouverture de l'atelier par Aurélien à la mort de Carin (fin 274 - mi-285). (Wetteren, 1976).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. II: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 6: Macrianus to Diocletian & Maximianus. (Paris, 1886).
Gricourt, D. Ripostiglio della Venèra, Nuovo Catalogo Illustrato, Vol. IV: Caro - Diocleziano. (Verona, 2000).
King, C. Roman Quinarii from the Republic to Diocletian and the Tetrarchy. (Oxford, 2007).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & P. Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. V, Part II, Probus to Amandus. (London, 1933).
Milani, L. Il ripositglio della Venèra, Monete romane della seconda meta del terzo secolo. (Rome, 1880).
Pink, K. "Der Aufbau der Römischen münzprägung in der Kaiserzeit: VI/2. Carus und Söhne" in Numismatische Zeitschrift 80 (1963).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. III, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Monday, September 25, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Carinus