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Opening of the Colosseum

360, Lot: 411. Estimate $200.
Sold for $1600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Titus. AD 79-81. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.47 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 80. Laureate head left / Armored elephant advancing left. RIC II 116; RSC 304. EF, lightly toned. Rare with head left.

Ex Elsen 68 (14 December 2001), lot 363.

The elephant on this particular issue represents one of the numerous species displayed in the newly constructed Flavian Amphitheater, better known today as the Colosseum, built by prisoners of the First Jewish War on the site of the Domus Aurea of Nero. Opened to the public during Titus’ rule, in AD 80, and commemorated by Martial in de Spectaculis, the Colosseum was welcomed with great fanfare and games. During the opening ceremonies a great number of animals, including elephants, were both exhibited and slaughtered