Colosseum Inaugural Sestertius of Emperor Titus
Replica commemorating the opening of the Colosseum, Rome
The original of this faithfully detailed coin replica derived from a mint in Rome and dates 80/81 A.D. The original is kept in the British Museum in London.
The front displays in passionately drawn detail the Colosseum (amphitheatrum Flavium), seen at an angle from the top. It is shown with four storeys. On the second floor even small statues are recognizable in the arches! The fully occupied spectator seats can be seen inside. On the left of the Colosseum there is a high fountain (meta sudans) and on the right side there is a 2-storied construction. The inscription reads: IMP•T•CAES•VESP•AVG•P•M•TR•P•P•P•COS•VIII, and there are the letters S•C in the field. This highly detailed Roman coin commemorated the completion of the Flavian amphitheatre (Colosseum) in 81 A.D.
The Sestertius was a coin and main financial unit (monetary) of the Roman Republic and Empire. It was originally worth 2.5 Aes, hence the name, 'the third (As) by half' = semis tertius (as), and the sign IIS (II for 'two' + S for semis, 'half'). That changed into HS. After about 130 B.C., the Sestertius became equal to four Aes or two Dupondii.
The Sestertius appeared for the first time in the 3rd century B.C. in the Roman Republic, it was minted in this time in silver and weighed scarcely more than 1 gr. In the 1st century B.C., under Julius Caesar, the Sestertius was minted for the first time in bronze and issued in large quantities.
Augustus' coin reform gave the Sestertius its final shape. This Sestertius determined financial economy now for the next 200 years. Though weight and the proportion of zinc constantly decreased, appearance and valency of the coin remained constant, even as a divisional coin.
The Sestertius was also book currency till the monetary reform of emperor Diocletian. Thus public issues, cashless transfers and accountancy were carried out with the Sestertius as financial unit. The Sestertius was subject to inflation as much as the other coins of the first two centuries of the Imperial Era, because soon its material value exceeded its nominal value many times. The Sestertius experienced its last short period of fertility in the reign of the Augustus of the Gallic Empire, Postumus, who minted double Sestertii in Cologne.
Due to inflation, the regular production of Sestertii ceased - as that of all the other bronze coins - after the 264 issue. The last bronze coins in comparable size were minted in 269 in Cologne and in 275 in Rome, but maybe they were not intended for regular payment but considered memorial coinage.
- The original is in the British Museum in London
- roman colosseum coin in pure tin - patinated
- Size of the colosseum coin: 35 mm
- Held in a plastic bag, including an information sheet
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