Roman coin rarity in Chicago auction celebrates Colosseum

Sestertius of Titus celebrates Flavian Amphitheater
By , Coin World
Published : 03/19/14
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Perhaps the most famous monument of ancient Rome is the Colosseum, which has also been called Flavian’s Amphitheater for the Flavian dynasty that built it.

A circa A.D. 80 to 81 orichalcum sestertius celebrating the Colosseum’s construction highlights Heritage Auctions’ April 10 to 12 auction at the Chicago International Coin Fair.

Construction of the famed structure, where Christians were famously fed to lions and where gladiatorial contests were staged, began in A.D. 70, on the site of Nero’s Golden House. Flavius Vespasianus (the ruler under whom construction began) dedicated the partially completed structure in AD 75; however the final touches, including the top tiers of arches and seating, were not completed until June, AD 80, under his son and successor Titus.

When completed, the Colosseum was the first permanent outdoor amphitheater, and was unrivaled in size for 18 centuries.

The sestertius in the Heritage auction was issued to mark the completion, and is shown in detail despite the 31-millimeter-diameter size of the coin.

From the Dr. Patrick Tan Collection, the coin has a green patina and is “Good Very Fine,” according to the auction house.

The coin has a pre-sale estimate of $80,000 to $100,000 U.S.

To learn more about the sale, visit the auction house’ website,, or telephone it at 800-672-2646. 

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