The 2003 First Flight Centennial Silver Dollar was the only silver commemorative coin to appear from the US Mint during the year. It was issued to mark the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ historic flight near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Along with these silver coins, the US Mint also issued two other commemoratives honoring the 100th anniversary. This included a ten dollar gold coin as well as a half dollar clad coin. Both of these varieties, however, featured different designs than found on the commemorative coins.
The Wright Brothers (Orville and Wilbur) are generally credited with attaining the first controlled powered human flight in history when they took to the air in 1903 near Kitty Hawk. It took them years of testing to achieve that feat which lasted for only seconds. However, that short duration was enough to land them in the history books.
First Flight Silver Dollar Information
Each First Flight Silver Dollar was authorized as part of Public Law 105-124. That same law actually authorized two other series of coins as well — the 50 State Quarters series and a series of new dollar coins that would debut with the Sacagawea Dollar.
The silver dollars had an authorized mintage maximum of 500,000. Each was struck to the standard commemorative silver dollar specifications, including a 90% silver composition and a 1.5 inch diameter. The commemorative coins were only authorized to be issued by the US Mint between August 1, 2003, and July 31, 2004.
The designs on the commemorative coins were required to be "emblematic of the first flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903." As such, the obverse of the silver dollar contains US Mint sculptor/engraver Jim Ferrell’s profile portrait of the Wright brothers rendered from George T. Morgan’s design first used on the Congressional Medal awarded to Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1909. Also shown are the inscriptions ORVILLE AND WILBUR WRIGHT, LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, 1903 and 2003.
On the First Flight Silver Dollar reverse is an image of the 1903 Wright Flyer as designed by US Mint sculptor/engraver Norman E. Nemeth. Included as well are the inscriptions ONE DOLLAR, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM and the Philadelphia mintmark of "P".
2003 First Flight Silver Dollar Coin Specifications
|Composition:||90% silver, 10% copper|
|Total Estimated Mintage:||190,240 Proof, 53,533 Uncirculated|
|Minting Facility:||Philadelphia (P)|
|Obverse Design:||Portrait of Orville & Wilbur Wright|
|Obverse Designer:||Jim Ferrell|
|Reverse Design:||Image of the 1903 Wright Flyer|
|Reverse Designer:||Norman E. Nemeth|