Interest in the Proof Silver Eagle series took a considerable upturn with the release of the 2003-W Proof American Silver Eagle. According the United States Mint, the eighteenth annual issue of the series sold a total of 747,831, effectively achieving a sell-out based on the maximum mintage in place of 750,000.
The year achieved the status as third best ever for the series to that point. This marked a notable increase from the number sold the previous year which was just 647,342.
Like the previous two annual releases in the series, the 2003 Proof Silver Eagle was struck at the US Mint’s facility in West Point. A ‘W’ mintmark located on the reverse of the coin confirms the minting location. From the inaugural strikes of the series in 1986 through 1992, the Proof Silver Eagles were struck at the US Mint’s facility in San Francisco with the Philadelphia facility striking them from 1993 through 2000.
Specifications for the coins remained unchanged since their debut. This includes a composition of .999 silver with the balance being copper and a diameter of 40.60mm.
Also remaining unchanged throughout the series were the obverse and reverse designs. The obverse has always shown (and still does today) a version of "Walking Liberty." This particular design was originally completed by artist Adolph A. Weinman and first appeared on the 1916-1947 half dollar coin. The design is considered by many as one of the most beautiful ever struck on an American coin.
Shown on the reverse is the image of a heraldic eagle with shield. It was designed for the series by US Mint engraver John Mercanti.
2003 Silver Eagle Mintages
As commented previously, the total number of 2003-W Proof American Silver Eagles sold by the United States Mint was 747,831 out of a maximum mintage of 750,000. Each of the 2003 Proof Silver Eagles sold directly from the US Mint for 24.00 a piece which was the same price point used by the Mint for the previous several years.
Bullion Silver Eagle demand fell for the year with the US Mint recording a total of 8,495,008 2003 year-dated strikes sold. For comparison, the US Mint indicates 10,539,026 were sold the previous year. The average London Fix for Silver for 2003 was $4.88 an ounce.