The obverse of the coin depicts the crowned old bust of Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her Coronation (effigy known as the "Fifth Portrait" worldwide but "Sixth Portrait" in Australia, where the Queen's portrait by Vladimir Gottwald was fifth).
The Queen also wears the Coronation Necklace; originally made for Queen Victoria in 1858, it was also worn at the coronations (as Queen's Consort) of Queen Alexandra in 1902, Queen Mary in 1911 and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen mother) in 1937.
Unlike on British coinage, the effigy includes the Queen's shoulders. On regular circulating coins it extends almost to the rim of the coin. Consequently, on them the legend does not run continuously around the rim. On commemorative coins the effigy is smaller and the value and denomination are below.
The artist's initials JC (for Jody Clark) are incuse in tiny letters in the left field of the effigy (on the Queen's right shoulder, near the rim).
Around the effigy is the monarch's legend and the date: ELIZABETH II · AUSTRALIA 2021 · 25 DOLLARS ·.
The effigy, legend and face value are in a small circle, surrounded by a decorative border.
Around the rim outside that circle, the twelve animals of the Lunar Calendar walking counter-clockwise: rat, pig, dog, rooster, monkey, goat, horse, snake, dragon, rabbit, tiger and an ox; the ox is on top.