L. Sulla and L. Manlius Torquatus, 82 BC. Aureus (Gold, 19 mm, 10.90 g, 9 h), Rome. L · MANLI / PRO · Q Head of Roma to right, wearing winged helmet with peaked visor, cruciform earring and necklace, hair tied at back of head in three locks. Rev. L · SVLLA · IM Sulla, togate, driving triumphal quadriga right, holding branch in right hand and reins with left; above but off the flan here, Victory flying left crowning Sulla with laurel wreath. Babelon (Cornelia) 38 and (Manlia) 3. Bahrfeldt 13 and pl. 3, 8 (same obverse die). Calicó 16. Crawford 367/4. Kent-Hirmer pl. 15, 50. Sydenham 756. Very rare, beautifully toned and of wonderful quality. Reverse struck slightly off-center, otherwise, virtually as struck.
Sold on behalf of the Compagnie Bancaire Helvétique, Switzerland, ex Numismatica Ars Classica 54, 24 March 2010, 209 and Numismatica Ars Classica 11, 29 April 1998, 229.
This coin was struck to celebrate Sulla's great victory over the Marians at the Colline Gate of Rome in November 82 BC. While Sulla's troops were worn out from forced marches, they arrived at Rome at noon, he never-the-less ordered them into battle at 4 (16:00) that same day. While Sulla, in command of his left wing, was pushed back into the city walls, his right wing, under M. Licinius Crassus, had destroyed the Marians there, thus enabling Sulla's combined forces to completely defeat the enemy. The reverse scene on this coin, partially off the flan, shows Sulla himself in the triumphal chariot he was awarded for this victory. It is, in fact, one of the first instances in which a living person was shown on a Roman coin.