Bust of Queen Victoria facing left wearing bodice and a mantle decorated with rose, thistle and shamrock; in her hair a wreath of leaves and berries tied at back with ribbon, her hair drawn to a plaited bun behind; she wears a circular brooch; at the back of her shoulder, a small part of the Star of the Garter is visible, with a small part of its motto ('HONI SO') readable.
Around, the legend VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D : (Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen of the Britains, Defender of the Faith).
On most coins, the designer's signature L.C. Wyon under the bust.
Freeman describes several obverse varieties:
As described above, with a border of circular dots. The name of the designer, L.C.Wyon, in very small letters, appears on the lowest extremity of the bust, towards the right. The letters are partly on, and partly beneath the bust.
Similar to Obverse 1, but the eyeball of the Queen visibly bulges out. The eye is lower in relation to the bridge of the nose. The forehead is slightly more rounded.
Similar to Obverse 1 but the border dots are tooth-like, elongated and incomplete in that they join the rim. The Queen's hair below the wreath is slightly more wavy, and at the nape of the neck there are distinctive curls curving downwards and back towards the neck. Usually at least one of the last three letters in BRITT is out of alignment. The signature L.C. Wyon is distinctly clear of the toothed border.
A retouched version of Obverse 2. Some of the leafs in the wreath now have incuse outlines. The signature L.C. Wyon is almost in contact with the toothed border. The legend has slightly larger letters, BRITT is correctly aligned.
Similar to Obverse 3 but L.C. Wyon is below the bust and not partly on it. The rim is narrower and the border teeth are shorter than on obverses 2 and 3.
Similar to Obverse 4 but there is no designer's signature. There is a small recess in the outline of the bust where the signature would have been. The veins in the leafs of the wreath now have double incuse lines.
The Queen's bust sits higher than before and the topmost part of her head is only 0.9 mm from the linear circle, as opposed to 1.5 mm on obverses 1 to 5. All leaf veins in the wreath are raised, and there is an additional leaf (now they are 16 and not 15). There is no designer's signature but, unlike Obverse 5, there is no recess where it would have been either. The Queen's nose is slightly sharper, her eye is slightly closer to the edge of the head. The letters of the legend have thinner lines than before. More often than not, there is a flaw between the upper dot after D : of F : D : and the linear circle.