Military challenge coins vary widely in their rarity and value. Every challenge coin has it's own unique story and they are often tied to the history of a particular mission, unit, or organization. Collectors will scour estate sales, military supply shows, and the internet looking for rare and special coins to add to their collection.
Military challenge coins have a long and rich history, going all the way back to ancient roman times, when soldiers were paid with specially minted coins and more recent history such as world war one, when a captured soldier presented his unique coin to identify himself to allied forces, allowing him to escape prosecution.
The term challenge in challenge coins has a specific meaning. Over the years a game has evolved among service members, in which a challenger will pull out his or her coin and slap it on the table. Everyone in the unit must present their coin and the last one to do so, is buying the next round of drinks. They call this a coin check.
Whether inside or outside the military, challenge coins provide a symbolic representation of achievements and alliances to be made by joining a group. This can be a great recruiting tool as it boosts morale and signifies a newcomer as a part of the team.
In recent years, the popularity of challenge coins has spread from the military, into the private sector. Companies use challenge coins to recognize the achievements of their staff and build camaraderie within an organization. You will often find them being presented at conferences and other company events.
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