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Outstanding Sulla Portrait

593543. Sold For $4500

Q. Pompeius Rufus. 54 BC. AR Denarius (17mm, 3.57 g, 3h). Rome mint. Bare head of the consul Q. Pompeius Rufus right; Q • POM • RVFI downward to right, RVFVS • COS downward to left / Bare head of Sulla right; SVLLA • COS downward to right. Crawford 434/1; Sydenham 908; Pompeia 4; RBW 1544. Toned, some faint hairlines. Near EF. Exceptional portrait of Sulla in high relief.

Ex Thomas A. Palmer Collection; Peus 366 (25 October 2000), lot 1220; Lanz 72 (29 May 1995), lot 416; Monetarium 42 (Autumn 1984), no. 82.

The moneyer chose to depict both his maternal grandfather, the dictator Sulla, and his paternal grandfather, Quintus Pompeius Rufus, consuls in 88 BC. Pompeius was an ardent supporter of the dictator, and their alliance was further cemented by the marriage of Pompeius’ son to Sulla’s eldest daughter, Cornelia Sulla. The marriage produced two children, the moneyer responsible for this denarius and Pompeia, second wife of Julius Caesar (whom Caesar famously divorced following the scandal associated with the festival of Bona Dea in 62 BC).