Welcome Sign-In | Join Now
Sold for Sign-in or Join (free & quick) includes Buyer's Premium (BP) 


Exceptional Sulla Portrait

Q. Pomponius Rufus (54 BC). AR denarius (19mm, 3.86 gm, 8h). Head of the dictator Sulla, the moneyer's maternal grandfather, right; SVLLA before / Head of Q. Pompeius Rufus, the moneyer's paternal grandfather, right; Q POM RVFI before, RVFVS COS behind. Crawford 434/1. Sydenham 908. RSC Pompeia 4. Small area of roughness beneath Sulla's chin, otherwise a well-struck and lustrous Extremely Fine.

The career of Lucius Cornelius Sulla served as a paradigm for the Roman imperators and emperors who came after him. Born in 138 BC to a prestigious but penniless patrician family, he joined to army and served under Marius in Africa, where he gained notoriety by engineering the capture of the rebel leader Jugurtha. He later served as a general in the Social War and won great popularity among the soldiery for his luck and pluck in battle (he later adopted the surname Felix, or "lucky"). Marriage to a wealthy woman, who conveniently died and left him an enormous legacy, helped launch his political career, which saw him reach the consulship in 88 BC. He obtained a coveted command against Mithradates of Pontus, which promised to reap a great deal of loot, but was outmaneuvered by his old mentor Marius, who had himself assigned to lead the expedition. Sulla refused to hand over his troops and instead led them in an assault on Rome itself, an unprecedented act. After a quick purge of political opponents, Sulla departed for the east to fight Mithridates, but Marius and the exiles soon returned and fought their way back to power. Sulla had to break off his Mithridatic campaign to return to Italy, where he again seized Rome and named himself dictator. He undertook savage reprisals against his enemies and stuffed his purse with their possessions. He ruled absolutely for three years, during which he rammed through a body of conservative laws intended to protect the power of aristocrats and keep the plebians down. This accomplished, he resigned the dictatorship in 79 BC and retired to a life of profound hedonistic decadence, from which he died less than a year later. His gaunt portrait appears on this denarius of his ancestor Q. Pompeius Rufus, backed by the head of an earlier, less controversial consul of the same name.

Service and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)

Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

Glossary of Terms

Auction Info

Auction Dates
April, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 1
Members Tracking: N/A
Page Views: 332

Buyer's Premium per Lot:
17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

Heritage membership

sold in the last year

Join Now - It's Free

  1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
  2. Bid online
  3. Free Collector newsletter
  4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
  5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your

Consignments wanted

Only 13 days left to consign to the 2015 October 29 - November 2 US Coins Signature Auction - New York!

Learn about consigning with us

Thank you for the outstanding job that your firm and employees did in selling the seized coins for the Internal Revenue Service.
William Beckham, Internal Revenue Service,
Dallas, TX
View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. To compare for yourself, visit:

Video tutorial

Getting the most out of search

Recent auctions

2015 August 12 - 16 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago
2015 August 12 - 16 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago
REALIZED $34,801,934
2015 August 13 ANA World and Ancient Coins Platinum Night Auction
2015 August 13 ANA World and Ancient Coins Platinum Night Auction
REALIZED $9,698,676
2015 August 13 ANA Currency Platinum Night Auction - Chicago
2015 August 13 ANA Currency Platinum Night Auction - Chicago
REALIZED $1,870,380

© 2015 Heritage Auctions | All Rights Reserved