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Research Coins: The Coin Shop

 
567828
567828. Sold For $575

L. Sulla. Circa 81 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.99 g, 12h). Uncertain mint. Diademed head of Venus right / Double cornucopia filled with fruit and flowers, bound with fillet; Q below. Crawford 375/2; Sydenham 755; Cornelia 33; RBW 1398. Attractive old toning. Good VF.


This curious issue, in style more Greek than Roman, was likely an emergency coinage struck by Sullan forces while battling the Marians for control of Italy. The head of Venus on the front honors Sulla’s patron goddess, while the double-cornucopia is likely a reference to Fortuna, and thus obliquely to Sulla’s agnomen of Felix (“Lucky”). The Q on the reverse identifies the issuing authority as an anonymous Quaestor. The mint is unknown, but must have been a city with an established mint, as the style of engraving and the quality of strike are exceptional given the circumstances.