Vespasian, AR Denarius, 17mm (3.33 gm), Ephesus mint
Laureate head right, IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P / AVG EPHE (PHE in monogram) in two lines within oak-wreath. RIC II.1 1427 (pg. 164); RSC II 40; RCV I 2265.
I bought this coin from Tom Cederlind at the Long Beach show a few years ago purely on the strength of the portrait. Mike, Tom Cederlind's assistant, didn't have to pour on the sales charm with this one... I was sold at first sight! I've come to appreciate eastern mint portraiture quite a bit and now even seek these coins out.
You'll notice that this coin is listed in my 'Top 10' on my collection site... http://socalcoins.com/collection/other/top-10.htm. It's listed at #6 but 'that' Top 10 was determined a couple of years ago. I've since sold some coins in my collection and added a few. The coin would still be in my Top 10, but I'm not sure if it'd still make #6.
Vespasian was, of course, one of the Twelve Caesars and father to the final two emperors of Twelve Caesars fame - Titus and Domitian. It was Vespasian who commissioned the Flavian ampitheater... or the Colosseum as it is known today. Vespasian's son Titus campaigned with him in Judaea and completed construction on the Colosseum. Vespasian is notable for having restored order to Rome, following a tumultuous period that saw four emperors ascend the throne in one year (AD 69).