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I did it; I finally obtained my realistic dream coin


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After a mere 15 or so years of off and on again looking, I finally obtained a specimen of my (realistic) dream coin, a portrait issue of Sulla.

This type seldomly turns up on vcoins, and when it does, is usually very expensive. The last 'affordable' example I recall seeing was circa 2014 and was a fourree.  It was a fluke that I even looked.  I had created a 'should I buy A or B' thread and I just happened to look, on a whim.  A solid silver example popped up and it only took me about 30 seconds to buy it.

Thanks to Aegean coins for the extraordinarily fast shipping and the somewhat bigger picture.

It's a somewhat humble example but I'm quite happy with it.  One can always upgrade at a later date.

Dealer's description:

160785734_SullaportraitdenariusfromAegean(1725pixels).jpg.be149e852ce040b6c44b6dfab825a579.jpg

3.37g
Head of Q Pompeius Rufus right (Consul)
Head of Sulla (Rufus' grandfather) right "Q POM RVFI / RVFVS COS"
Cr 434/1
Pompeia 4

I'd grade the Rufus side at aF and the Sulla side at VG.

Feel free to post anything of Sulla or Faustus Cornelius Sulla, or any portrait issues of his lieutenant, Pompey.  I'd like to get a decent example of the Faustus Cornelius denarius featuring Hercules.  Grr, the good ones always seem to have to be from Spain.  I'm afraid to order from there.

His tomb, according to Wikipedia, allegedly bore the super-cool epitaph, "No friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full."

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Jeez Louise! A Sulla portrait🤩 HUGE congratulations on that con!!!

I am still waiting for Hollywood to realize the EPIC story they are missing by not getting a Sulla movie in production, like yesterday. 

I'll add my generic Sulla riding the chariot:

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And a fourée of Faustus:

IMG_0633(1).PNG.760df010e8fb9c92523587b6baaaf49a.PNG

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Congratulations! I'd love to have one of those (the only Sulla portrait coin, if I remember correctly, albeit posthumous, but presumably based on contemporary portraits made available to the engraver by the family). I don't remember buying anything directly from Aegean, but I've always thought they were a good seller with good prices. For another photo of your coin, see here, Stephen Album EA 16, Lot 64 (if you have the free ACSearch account you can get the full size image, which appears to be 1000 x 453 pix): https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=9716267 

I've posted some of my Sulla-related coins in previous posts:

It's interesting how many elements of this one are shared with Julius Caesar's captives denarii, though they're artistically very different (head of Venus & tiny little winged Cupid withing dotted border on obverse; trophy on the reverse; also some stuff that looks like pontifical elements, and legends, which also foreshadowed other Caesar denarii).

image.jpeg.91fd92b76df4f9aa8b68eeb1bb626271.jpeg

  • Roman Republican. L. Sulla AR Denarius (3.67g, 18mm, 12h) Military mint, 83 BCE.
    Obv: Head of Venus right, Cupid holding long palm.
    Rev: Capis and lituus between two trophies.
    Ref: Crawford 359/2; Cornelia 29.
    Prov: InAsta 84 (30 Oct 2019), 114.

 

I guess this one was probably struck during Sulla's siege of Athens (though some have dated it to Sulla's occupation of Athens):

image.jpeg.02921c5dfb15140fa4d1bd946b1038a3.jpeg

  • Greek (Post-Hellenistic), Roman (Republican, Provinicial). Attica, Athens AR “New Style” Tetradrachm (29mm, 16.36 g, 12h). Struck during Roman occupation under Sulla, Proquaestor L. Licinius Lucullus, 86-84 BCE.
    Obverse: Head of Athena Parthenos right, wearing single-pendant earring, necklace, and triple-crested Attic helmet decorated with the foreparts of four horses above the visor, a Griffin (?) in flight rightward above the raised earpiece, and a curvilinear ornament on the bowl.
    Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing, on amphora; two monograms flanking; all within wreath.
    References: Thompson 1315 (same obv. die[?]); HGC 4, 1779.
    Provenance: Ex CNG Feature Auction 115, Lot 147 (17 September 2020), “From the collection of a Texas Wine Doctor”; Ex CNG Sale 51, Lot 302 (15 September 1999).

 

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Roman Republic. Faustus Cornelius Sulla. 56 BC. AR Denarius (20mm, 3.84g, 7h). Rome mint. Obv: Draped bust of Diana right, wearing diadem with crescent; lituus to left, FAVSTVS before. Rev: Sulla seated left on raised seat; before him, Bocchus, king of Mauretania, kneels, offering an olive branch; behind, Jugurtha, king of Numidia, also kneeling, his hands tied behind him, FELIX on right. Ref: Crawford 426/1; Sydenham 879; Cornelia 59; RBW 1525. Good Very Fine, old cabinet toning. Note from Seller: This remarkable reverse type reproduces the device engraved on the dictator's signet ring which commemorated the pivotal event in his early career-the betrayal of Jugurtha by his father-in-law Bocchus at Sulla's instigation. Harlan dates the issues of Faustus as moneyer to 55BC and those struck ex Senatus Consulto to the following year.

image.jpeg.373878ae47625d6044fc54ced65a41cc.jpeg

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3 hours ago, Curtis JJ said:

Congratulations! I'd love to have one of those (the only Sulla portrait coin, if I remember correctly, albeit posthumous, but presumably based on contemporary portraits made available to the engraver by the family). I don't remember buying anything directly from Aegean, but I've always thought they were a good seller with good prices. For another photo of your coin, see here, Stephen Album EA 16, Lot 64 (if you have the free ACSearch account you can get the full size image, which appears to be 1000 x 453 pix): https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=9716267 

Thanks.  Mine is of somewhat similar size, but 1000 x 700-something.  I had requested a larger picture, since it's a coin I really care about.  It's interesting to learn more about this particular coin's history.

Both coins are very enviable, especially the New Style Tet.

Thanks everyone for the kind words!

There's certainly some nice coins being posted.

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13 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

After a mere 15 or so years of off and on again looking, I finally obtained a specimen of my (realistic) dream coin, a portrait issue of Sulla.

This type seldomly turns up on vcoins, and when it does, is usually very expensive.

Congrats on the pick-up! Though have you thought about turning on "easy mode" and not limiting yourself to just Vcoins? 😅

Seems like quite a few examples have gone up at auction in the past couple of years.

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16 hours ago, Curtis JJ said:

Congratulations! I'd love to have one of those (the only Sulla portrait coin, if I remember correctly, albeit posthumous, but presumably based on contemporary portraits made available to the engraver by the family). I don't remember buying anything directly from Aegean, but I've always thought they were a good seller with good prices. For another photo of your coin, see here, Stephen Album EA 16, Lot 64 (if you have the free ACSearch account you can get the full size image, which appears to be 1000 x 453 pix): https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=9716267 

I've posted some of my Sulla-related coins in previous posts:

It's interesting how many elements of this one are shared with Julius Caesar's captives denarii, though they're artistically very different (head of Venus & tiny little winged Cupid withing dotted border on obverse; trophy on the reverse; also some stuff that looks like pontifical elements, and legends, which also foreshadowed other Caesar denarii).

image.jpeg.91fd92b76df4f9aa8b68eeb1bb626271.jpeg

  • Roman Republican. L. Sulla AR Denarius (3.67g, 18mm, 12h) Military mint, 83 BCE.
    Obv: Head of Venus right, Cupid holding long palm.
    Rev: Capis and lituus between two trophies.
    Ref: Crawford 359/2; Cornelia 29.
    Prov: InAsta 84 (30 Oct 2019), 114.

 

I guess this one was probably struck during Sulla's siege of Athens (though some have dated it to Sulla's occupation of Athens):

image.jpeg.02921c5dfb15140fa4d1bd946b1038a3.jpeg

  • Greek (Post-Hellenistic), Roman (Republican, Provinicial). Attica, Athens AR “New Style” Tetradrachm (29mm, 16.36 g, 12h). Struck during Roman occupation under Sulla, Proquaestor L. Licinius Lucullus, 86-84 BCE.
    Obverse: Head of Athena Parthenos right, wearing single-pendant earring, necklace, and triple-crested Attic helmet decorated with the foreparts of four horses above the visor, a Griffin (?) in flight rightward above the raised earpiece, and a curvilinear ornament on the bowl.
    Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing, on amphora; two monograms flanking; all within wreath.
    References: Thompson 1315 (same obv. die[?]); HGC 4, 1779.
    Provenance: Ex CNG Feature Auction 115, Lot 147 (17 September 2020), “From the collection of a Texas Wine Doctor”; Ex CNG Sale 51, Lot 302 (15 September 1999).

 

ESG Robinson teased out the monograms to say  Marcus ( Markoy)  Treasurer (Tamoiy)  referring to Marcus Lucullus. He was Lucius Lucullus brother  and was sent off by Sulla to raise a fleet. His coins are referred to as Lucullan's in the ancient sources  maybe referring to these.  Like my example this is a type ll example without the A on the amphora  . Not actually NewStyles Pseudo Athenian NewStyles since they are ethnicless  and no one knows where they were minted. Most likely Pegasos not a griffin!

My Sulla II.jpg

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Here are a few Sulla-related coins - my Cr. 434/1 was cheap but corroded and nasty - it was slabbed by NGC as "VG, Strike: 3/5, Surface: 1/5, damaged"

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Here's a Faustus Cornelius Sulla, Cr. 426/2:

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A Cr. 426/4a:

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"Sulla's Dream" - Cr. 480/1.   Maybe it's Sulla, maybe not 😄   

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Cr. 359/2:

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Cr. 426/1:

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Finally, I have a couple of these - Cr. 367/5 featuring Sulla's triumph:

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ATB,

Aidan.

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I've been fascinated by Sulla since reading Steven Saylor's Roman Blood. 

And let us not forget Sulla's interesting personal life.  He certainly consorted with a bevvy of colorful individuals.

Here's a humble example of a cool Faustus Cornelius Sulla issue: and it only cost $90 in 2011!

faustus06.jpg.598e2e0c2cf78daa173fc3b34c90cd9d.jpg

Incitatus coins' original description:

FAUSTUS CORNELIUS SULLA AR silver denarius. Struck 56 BC. Laureate and diademed bust of Venus right; scepter on shoulder, SC behind. Reverse - 3 military trophies between capis & lituus; FAVSTVS, monogrammed, in exergue. RCV 384, Scarce, valued at $480 in VF. 19mm, 3.2g.

Just as Pompey was Sulla's protege in the early 1st century, Faustus, Sulla's son, served under Pompey. This coin, struck by Faustus in 56 BC, honors Pompey's victories an all three continents (Asia against King Mithradates, Africa against the Marians, and Spain, Europe, against Quintus Sertorius). Pompey had a signet ring with the same three trophies on it, with which he sealed his correspondence.

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8 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

I've been fascinated by Sulla since reading Steven Saylor's Roman Blood. 

And let us not forget Sulla's interesting personal life.  He certainly consorted with a bevvy of colorful individuals.

Here's a humble example of a cool Faustus Cornelius Sulla issue: and it only cost $90 in 2011!

faustus06.jpg.598e2e0c2cf78daa173fc3b34c90cd9d.jpg

Incitatus coins' original description:

FAUSTUS CORNELIUS SULLA AR silver denarius. Struck 56 BC. Laureate and diademed bust of Venus right; scepter on shoulder, SC behind. Reverse - 3 military trophies between capis & lituus; FAVSTVS, monogrammed, in exergue. RCV 384, Scarce, valued at $480 in VF. 19mm, 3.2g.

Just as Pompey was Sulla's protege in the early 1st century, Faustus, Sulla's son, served under Pompey. This coin, struck by Faustus in 56 BC, honors Pompey's victories an all three continents (Asia against King Mithradates, Africa against the Marians, and Spain, Europe, against Quintus Sertorius). Pompey had a signet ring with the same three trophies on it, with which he sealed his correspondence.

Ah, forgot I had one of those - €70.80 including fees in an auction, coincidentally in May 2011 😄

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ATB,

Aidan.

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Wow, a very good deal!  And you beat me, mine was in December.

And, what a splendid Sulla's dream!

Sulla has certainly divided people since his time.  Some considered him a monster, some consider him a great man.  Few seem to think Marius was a monster.  Marius was undoubtedly a patriot, but the Marians dished out a lot of violence.

By coincidence, three out of five of my all-time favorite quotes come from Sulla and Pompey, respectively.  You can probably guess the Pompey one, and it wasn't the so can I one.

The fourth, "Enrich the army and scorn all else."  The last, "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat."  Hey, at least 4/5 of them are ancient.

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