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Research Coins: The Coin Shop

 

Rare Colosseum Sestertius

838594. Sold For $67500

Titus. AD 79-81. Æ Sestertius (34mm, 24.35 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 80. View of the Flavian Amphitheater (The Colosseum) from the southeast, seen from aerial perspective and containing imperial box; porticus of the Baths of Titus to left, Meta Sudans to right / [IM]P T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P P P C[OS VIII], Titus seated left on curule chair, left arm across lap, holding branch in outstretched right hand; around, helmets, shields and cuirass; S-C across field. RIC II 184; Elkins Type C, 6i (A4/P6 – this coin); BMCRE 190; Küthmann & Overbeck 52; Cohen 400. VF, brown surfaces, minor smoothing in fields around Titus. Very rare, only 22 examples listed by Elkins, and one of the only 6 listed which is not in a museum collection; for a similar example in a slightly higher grade, see Numismatica Ars Classica 51, lot 234 (hammer 240,000 CHF).


Ex W.B. and R.E. Montgomery Collection; Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection (Part II, Sotheby’s, 21 June 1990), lot 707; Leu 18 (5 May 1977), lot 315; Santa Barbara Museum Collection (Numismatic Fine Arts I, 20 March 1975), lot 325.

A bird's eye view of the most famous landmark of ancient Rome. Construction on the Colosseum began in AD 71 during the reign of Vespasian, and dedication ceremonies were held in AD 75 after the completion of the first three stories. In AD 80, the remaining two stories were completed, and new dedication ceremonies were conducted in June, celebrated on this sestertius of Titus. Elkins, in his recent article on these pieces, argues that they were commemorative pieces distributed by Imperial munificence at games held in the Colosseum.