Carinus, as Caesar, 282-283. Aureus (Gold, 19 mm, 4.69 g, 11 h), Antiochia, spring 283. IMP C M AVR CARINVS NOB C Laureate and cuirassed bust of Carinus to right. Rev. VICTORIAE AVGG / SMA Victory advancing right, holding wreath in her right hand and palm frond over her left shoulder. Cohen -. Calicó 4393b (same reverse die). RIC -. Of the highest rarity, apparently the fourth known example. A wonderful, lustrous and sharply struck coin. Virtually as struck.
This wonderful aureus of Carinus is part of a special emission struck in Antioch in the spring of 283. Carus was the first emperor since Gallienus to have adult sons, and he entrusted the western part of the empire to his firstborn Carinus while heading East with his younger son Numerian to fight the Sasanids. Carinus proved to be a successful ruler, as he and his generals successfully fought off some German tribes on the Rhine frontier. These victories led Carus to elevate his son to the rank of Augustus - perhaps not least to strengthen Carinus' authority in the West for the time to come, when he himself would be in the field against the Sasanids. It is somewhat curious that the coin celebrates the victories of the Augusti on the reverse, but still calls Carinus Caesar on the obverse: perhaps it was struck in a hurry, using an old obverse die, right after Carus received news about his son's victories in the West, events which the emperor undoubtedly used to strengthen the legitimacy of his dynasty and to boost the morale of the troops.