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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

 
439, Lot: 448. Estimate $750.
Sold for $950. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Faustus Cornelius Sulla. 56 BC. AR Denarius (18.5mm, 3.64 g, 6h). Rome mint. Draped bust of Diana right, wearing diadem with crescent; lituus to left / 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. Crawford 426/1; Sydenham 879; Cornelia 59. Near EF, toned, some light marks and scratches.


From the Fay Beth Wedig Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Auctions IX (7 December 1989), lot 322.

Faustus was the son of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the famous general and dictator of Rome (138-78 BC). The coin portrays Sulla's first great victory, in which he ended the Jugurthine War. Jugurtha, grandson of Massinissa of Numidia, had claimed the entire kingdom of Numidia in defiance of Roman decrees, dividing it between several members of the royal family. Rome declared war on Jugurtha in 111 BC, but for five years the wily king frustrated all efforts to bring him to heel. Finally, in 106 the popular general Marius was assigned command, with Sulla as quaestor in charge of cavalry. Before Marius could take to the field against the enemy, however, Sulla arranged with his ally Bocchus of Mauretania to have Jugurtha ambushed and captured. Sulla was acclaimed for the bloodless end of the war, gaining his first victory and the eternal enmity of Marius. On the reverse of this coin, Bocchus offers an olive branch to a seated Sulla, with a bound Jugurtha kneeling beside him.