The above aureus of Carausius is one of a handful of gold coins from the reign. The pedigree of the coin goes back to 1915 when it was given to a sergeant-major in a transport unit in the British Expeditionary Force billeted with a local family near Lille. There is no record of the find spot of the coin and therefore no sure way of knowing whether this coin was found in France.
The coin is, strangely, not listed in volume 5, part 2, of Roman Imperial Coinage, published in 1933; nor is the coin listed/illustrated in Norman Shiel’s 1977 work on Carausius. As far as I can ascertain the first time this coin was published was in Seaby’s Coin and Medal Bulletin in 1978, prior to being offered for sale by the company. The coin was subsequently offered for sale in 1979 by Numismatic Fine Arts (sale IV, lot 911) before appearing in the third part of the Nelson Bunker Hunt sale (December 1990, lot 98) with an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.
The style of the emperor’s bust is, to my eye, quite unlike any of the recorded gold coins from the reign and it is interesting to note both guide lines evident on the reverse for the legend, indicating the use of a very fresh die, along with the orthographic error, ORIES for ORIENS, where the E could, conceivably, be struck over an N.