Late Roman Coins               Introduction                       Mints                     Bibliography

The dated coins of Carausius are undoubtedly rare. Malcolm Lyne in a recent paper was only able to list nine specimens of six types and these are summarised below[1]:

1        SAECVLARES AVG, COS IIII on cippus (BM)               

2        PM TRP IIII C PP, C in exergue, Emperor standing togate with head left and holding globe (private collection)

3        PM TRP IIII C IIII, C in exergue, Emperor standing togate with head left and holding globe (private collection)

4        PM [TRP IIII] COS PP, Emperor togate seated left in curule chair holding baton; C in exergue (BM) and MC in exergue (private collection) noted

5        PM [TRP IIII] COS PP, C in exergue, Roma seated left holding winged victory; three specimens noted (the Hunt specimen for example, re-sold through Spink NCirc March 1998, item 940, illustrated as 1 below)

6        PMORPTICOSIIII, CLA in exergue, she-wolf right with Romulus and Remus below (a dubious or garbled description from Stukeley)

 Recently an additional dated specimen has come to light:                          


                Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right

 Rev         [PM T]RP II COS PP, [C?] in exergue

                Emperor togate seated left in curule chair holding baton

Weight 4.2 g; axis ­¯; Find spot unknown, possibly Suffolk

The new coin described is the same reverse type as number 4 above except that the enumerator is clearly II and is the only recorded specimen of all dated types not of TRP or COS IIII[2],[3].  One may thus describe the coin as RIC 188, which, in the publication, is published as a partially unreadable specimen, the most important bit, the date figure, is missing[4],[5].

The find spot is not known to me, however, it was purchased from a Suffolk dealer and this may provide a clue to the location.

A further dated coin has come into my collection, adding both a new reverse design and a new date to the corpus. This coin is, as far as I am aware, unpublished in any catalogue or academic journal.

Obv         IMP CARAVSIVS PF AVG                                                            

                Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right

Rev         PM TRP III CO[S PP], XXI[?] in exergue

                Lion walking left

Weight 5.05 g; axis ­­; Find spot Wiltshire




The coin, of good style, offers an unusual mintmark form, perhaps a variant of the MCXXI noted on a number of specimens.

The format of the dating on many of the above specimens is interesting from an epigraphic view in that it is uncertain as to which of titles the IIII refers, the tribunician power or the consulship (or both for that matter). The Milan mint coinage of Gallienus enumerates the consulship between the TRP and COS titles. Thus, there are coin types reading PM TRP VI COS PP dating to 264 AD (the year of the 6th consulship), rather than 258 AD (the year of the 6th tribunician). From type 3 above in Carausius’ dated coinage there is good evidence to show that the fourth tribunician coincided with the fourth consulship, the die cutters abbreviating the dating on types 4 and 5[6].

Whilst on the subject of the dated coins parallels must be drawn between the coin listed as number 5 above and illustrated below (1) with a hitherto unrecorded seated Roma coin (2). Whilst I initially thought that coin 2 was a dated coin I soon realised that it was not and that it presented the legend [.....] CONS(ER). Whilst the opening of the legend is open to conjecture, in the absence of a specimen with a clear reading, it is not unreasonable given the reverse type to reconstruct it as ROMA(E) CONSER and, given the similarity of the two coins both in terms of reverse device and bust profile, it is not unreasonable to assume that the undated specimen is from the same mint as the dated coin.


[1]  Lyne, M; ‘Some new coin types of Carausius and Allectus and the history of the British provinces AD 286-296’ NChron 163 (2003) pp 147-68

[2]  Lyne, loc. cit. p.153

[3]  There are two specimens (reverse die duplicates) with the reverse legend CO[NSV]L III published in Williams, H; Carausius: A consideration of the historical, archaeological and numismatic aspects of his reign British Archaeological Reports 378 (2004) p.62

[4]  Webb, P; Roman Imperial Coinage 5 (1933)

[5]  Bland, R & Burnett, A; ‘Normanby, Lincolnshire’ in Bland, R & Burnett, A; The Normanby Hoard and other Roman Coin Hoards CHRB 8 (1988) p. 156 discusses RIC 188 and cites the specimens of Carausius’ dated coins where the enumerator is visible as speculating that all specimens have the number IIII.

[6]  Lyne, loc. cit. p.153