What’s the Purpose of the Prestigious Military Challenge Coin?

The military challenge coin has become one of the most prestigious military and first responder markers of rank and camaraderie.

Did you know that more than 20% of veterans who served in either Afghanistan or Iraq suffer from severe PTSD and/or depression? 

What about the fact that, when many veterans return from their service, they feel as if no one appreciates the sacrifices that they’ve made for their country? 

Whether you have a veteran in the family, or just wish you could do more to show our members of the military how much you appreciate what they’ve done, there is one simple act that means a lot: giving a military challenge coin

What are challenge coins, and how will they help to show appreciation — and support — for those who have served? 

Keep on reading to find out. 

A Brief History of Military Coins

Let’s quickly discuss how the concept of a military challenge coin came about in the first place. 

There are two main conflicting narratives surrounding the birth of challenge coins — and you can believe whichever one you would like.

The Wealthy Pilot

Some people think the tradition got started when a wealthy member of the American Air Force in World War One wanted to thank the men in his unit for serving alongside him. 

He had bronze coins created for each man in his unit so that they would always remember their time together. He wore his coin in a pouch around his neck, and it protected him and made him feel close to everyone who fought alongside him. 

Unfortunately, his plane was shot down, and he was captured by German soldiers. He escaped, but the Germans stole everything but the pouch around his neck, which they hadn’t noticed. 

While on the run, he came across some French soldiers, who assumed he was German and planned to shoot him. He then showed these French soldiers his medallion, which had the American insignia around his neck. 

His challenge coin saved his life. 

The Vietnam Challenge

Other people believe the tradition of U.S. Army challenge coins began much more recently, during the Vietnam War. 

One of a unit’s favorite ways to pass the time was to head to a local bar while on leave or at the end of the day. The goal was to be able to prove that you’d been in combat. In some cases, they would hold up enemy bullets in the bar. 

If anyone couldn’t prove that they’d served, as a way to say “thank you”, they’d need to buy all those that had served a drink. 

Soon, soldiers and veterans alike started making challenge coins, and the tradition evolved into the “coin check” challenge many of us are familiar with today. 

The Modern Meanings of a Military Challenge Coin

It goes without saying that the meaning of a challenge coin usually contains a sentiment that’s directly related to the history of the person receiving it.

There are challenge coins for all different branches of the armed forces, and there are even designs created to build camaraderie between those who have served in medical units in the army. 

In the past, challenge coins were mostly seen as a way to create a greater sense of belonging and teamwork within units. 

In today’s world, though, they’ve taken on an additional meaning — one that has saved countless lives. 

Mental Health and Challenge Coins

In addition to PTSD and depression, as well as any physical injuries sustained in combat, there’s another very real threat to the safety of veterans — suicide. 

Sadly, many vets don’t always have access to the mental health care they need to process the complex and often frightening emotions that living in dangerous situations — and seeing difficult traumatic events — causes. Some cannot cope, and opt to take their own lives. 

We know that you’ll do anything to stop a veteran — whether or not they’re a member of your family or friend — from doing this. 

While it’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs that someone might be suicidal, there is something else you can also do. 

Many people give veterans challenge coins to help ease the transition back into civilian life. These gifts for veterans carry an especially beautiful meaning. They let the veteran know that, should they ever need to talk or ask for help, you’ll be there for them. 

They don’t need to do anything more than simply slide their coin across the table to you, or show it to you. When they do, you’ll be ready to listen to what they’re going through. If they need immediate help, giving someone a coin means that you are ready to be the person they rely on. 

It’s a powerful and life-saving gift.

Are You Looking to Buy Challenge Coins Online? 

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand the meaning and prestige behind the idea of the military challenge coin. 

Whether your goal is to tell a soldier that you’re always willing to listen to them, or if you want to build friendships in your unit, a challenge coin always makes a great gift. 

Remember that these coins aren’t exclusively reserved for members of the military. They also make wonderful gifts for members of the police force, firemen and women, and others who help to protect and serve our country and communities. 

Additionally, they’re wonderful ways to promote a brand or even build teamwork among your employees. 

Spend some time browsing through our gallery of custom and pre-made challenge coins, and consider ordering some for the people you care about. 

Challenge Coin Discount – Thankful for Upgrades in November

** Promotion Expired**Challenge Coin DiscountChallenge Coin Discount – Thankful for Upgrades

For the entire month of November we are offering a free upgrade when you order 100 or more custom challenge coins.  We are thankful for our customers, which is why this thankful November we want to say thank you with a free upgrade!

Choose between:

a. Free upgrade to Antique nickel, brass, gold, silver, copper, and bronze.

B. Edge upgrade to Oblique line, Bevel, Bevel Diamond, and Cross Cut.

C. Packaging: Free upgrade from PVC to velvet bags.

***for the antique finishes that they aren’t available with hard enamel coins.

Check back often for other challenge coin discounts! And remember, we offer free shipping and free artwork from our talented artists. We are here to help!

Learn more about us here. Thank you for considering custom challenge coins!

Fill out our free online quote to receive this challenge coin discount! Mention “Thankful for Upgrades!

 

What is a Challenge Coin and What Do They Represent?

What is a Challenge Coin and What Do They Represent?

You’re at a military ceremony. A soldier is being honored for service above and beyond the call of duty. As he approaches the unit commander to receive his award, he salutes and then reaches out to shake hands.

In the unit commander’s palm, before he clasps hands, you notice a glint of metal. Wondering what that is? Well, you’ve seen your first challenge coin.

What is a challenge coin? I’m glad you asked.

What is a Challenge Coin?

The simple answer is this: A challenge coin is a specially designed coin. It’s given to someone to confirm membership in an organization or group. A challenge coin can also honor a person for a special achievement.

Description

Challenge coins are small, metal coins that fit in the palm of your hand. They are made of metal. Each challenge coin has a unique design that belongs to the organization it represents.

The emblem or insignia of the organization is etched directly into the coin. The organization’s motto can be engraved around the edge of the coin. They can have colored enamel painted into the etching, depending on the unique design.

Though they are usually round, some challenge coins come in other shapes. Special designs even include cutouts or unique features, like a bottle opener tool.

Challenge coins are made out of a variety of metals. Some are made of zinc, bronze, and brass. Other more expensive versions even include 24-carat gold.

What Does a Challenge Coin Represent?

Challenge coins represent organizations, units, and teams. They can also represent an achievement, an anniversary or a special event. They build close-knit, lasting bonds between people who receive them and represent unity.

They have a long-standing tradition in military history. But the military isn’t the only service that uses them. First responder services also have a history of using challenge coins, too.

Civilian groups are starting to use challenge coins to represent accomplishments in their businesses. This is a new way to represent challenge coins. They are using them to build morale in teams, link people with similar interests and even to promote their brand.

Military Challenge Coins

There are many traditional challenge coins that represent each of the military branches, individual units, special groups and even specific missions. Military leaders can have their own coins, too. Top generals and the President of the United States have their own special challenge coins.

Service members are known to develop large collections of challenge coins during their time in the military. They feel pride and a sense of belonging when they display their various coins.

First Responders Challenge Coins

Like the military, first responders use challenge coins to honor service. Law enforcement agencies and firefighters use challenge coins to honor special accomplishments in the line of duty.

Government agencies and politicians are using challenge coins to recognize first responders in their communities. This creates a sense of honor and unity during a time of tragedy and loss.

What is the Purpose of a Challenge Coin?

The purpose of a challenge coin depends on why it was made in the first place. It can be used for membership, recognition, to create a bond between people in a group or to commemorate an anniversary or special event.

Membership

In the military, challenge coins are proof that you are a member of a unit or served on a specific tour of duty. They mean you are a member of an elite group of people.

In early military history, they were used for security. A service member may have been required to show the coin to prove their loyalty. That may not be necessary today, but being a member of the team is still a strong military tradition.

Awards and Recognition

Challenge coins are used to award team members who perform their duties extremely well. Giving a coin as a reward for excellent performance builds pride and morale. Receiving one is a great honor and team members work hard to get them.

Creates Bonds and Connections

The challenge coin tradition keeps members of the military connected to one another, even after they leave the service. Veterans frequently display coins from units they have served in, missions they have been on and leaders they have met. First responders receive coins for heroic efforts during times of tragedy.

Challenge coins pay tribute to events that members of an organization endured together and create a bond that will last a lifetime.

Branding

More recently, challenge coins have been used to identify a corporate brand or logo. Corporations are beginning to hand these out at conferences, sales events, and trade shows. A challenge coin is certainly more memorable than a business card.

Even schools and sports teams are jumping on the bandwagon. Mascots and logos are being put on coins to hand out at local events in communities.

Where to Get a Challenge Coin

What is a challenge coin? It’s a great way to recognize an individual, a team or bring meaning to an event or accomplishment. They create lasting bonds between team members and encourage hard work.

Challenge coins make great gifts that are memorable and unique. Whether you want to honor a service member, a first responder or a valuable team member, challenge coins make the moment special and memorable.

If you are considering a challenge coin for your organization or event, you can submit a request online. If you need help with your request, you can contact us directly.

When Is It Appropriate To Give A Custom Challenge Coin?

Want to give away your own coins or award custom challenge coins? Learn about when it’s appropriate to bestow such an honor.

Custom challenge coins have a long history in the United States.

Once relegated to the military as a reward for a service member’s hard work, these coins are becoming popular items to award to employees for good work.

Challenge coins come in many forms and have impacted many different aspects of the service industry. Fire departments, the police, fraternal organizations like the Masons and even costuming organizations like the 501st Legion use coins to boost morale and congratulate members.

These coins can be a comfort for the recipients. And their families.

One of the hardest parts about custom challenge coins though is finding the right way and time to award these coins to your employees or members.

Custom Challenge Coins Reward Work Well Done

Being recognized for your hard work is a great feeling and 70% of surveyed employees believe their work being meaningfully recognized “had no dollar value.”

Employees are motivated and engaged when they are praised for work well done.

One way to recognize your employees for the hard work they do for you is by presenting custom challenge coins. Coins created for well-performing employees gives your team a goal to work towards. And something to memorialize the completion of a complicated project.

Keeping your employees engaged and boosting their morale is a great reason to have a challenge coin in your back pocket.

Challenge Coins Boost Morale

The origins of custom challenge coins are rooted solidly in our military’s history.

Service men and women have been awarded custom coins for decades now. And these coins are often considered parts of the identities of their owners.

Coins were often handed out as praise for exemplary service. But they’re also a solid, physical source of morale boosting. These coins help teams bond. You don’t have to be on the workforce to suffer from low morale when a project isn’t going to plan.

Many businesses are adopting the military’s method of praise and reward. Coins don’t have to be presented during a large ceremony. Improving your business’s overall morale can be as simple as handing the coin off with a handshake.

Commemorate a Special Moment in Time

Challenge coins are used to commemorate a special moment or achievement. They are a physical reminder of a milestone a person has been striving towards for a while.

There are many organizations that use custom coins. Or chips.

Alcoholics Anonymous Chips

Many temperance organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous have used custom coins to commemorate certain events. Or achievements. Sobriety coins are a great example of customized coins even though the AA logo is not allowed to be used on the medallion.

These coins or chips may not be official AA items but they are still presented at meetings. They are a very important part of the sobriety organization. And a physical reminder of the recipient’s important sobriety milestones.

The “chip system” has been around since 1942 and some believe it was started in Indianapolis. There are many kinds of coins. There can be 24 hour medals. And months ranging from 1-11 or 1-65.

These chips or coins are a “celebration of time” that recipients have taken part in the AA culture. Even though the coins are not officially part of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Police and Fire Coins

Challenge coins have long been popular with military servicemen. This tradition has continued on with many of them leaving the military and joining services like the police force.

Law enforcement challenge coins are morale boosters for police officers and their units. These coins are not presented in the ceremony. Often they are handed off by a unit commander with a simple handshake.

These coins are used to commemorate events and projects. And often times bind units together.

Fire departments also have commemorative challenge coins. These coins help recognize selfless service fire-fighters exhibit. Their dedication to service should be rewarded.

Custom challenge coins are a great way to commemorate the pride our community has in our law enforcement and civil servants.

Other Organizations

Challenge coins are popular among the military but they have seen an increasing popularity among other civilian organizations.

The 501st Legion Coin

An example of this is the 501st Legion. The 501st is a charity organization that has been around since 1997. This group recreates screen accurate costumes that members then wear to raise money for charity organizations like Make-A-Wish.

The original founding members are all veterans. They have served in the Marines and the National Guard and when they were creating the Legion they wanted to find a way to commemorate their organization. And their service.

So the Legion Challenge Coins were born.

These coins are presented to new members in brief welcoming ceremonies. They are created when a new character is introduced to the franchise. They can commemorate events. And fundraising milestones.

Many members have hundreds of these coins. And they carry multiple coins with them to each event they go to.

They are traded fiercely and are one of the defining features of the charity organization.

The Boy Scouts Coins

The Boy Scouts is another example of a civilian organization that uses challenge coins to reward and commemorate.

These coins are awarded when scouts move up through the ranks. When a scout becomes an Eagle, parents will sometimes present them with custom coins during the ceremony as well.

These coins are usually quite collectible.

And are obviously cherished by their owners.

Public vs. Private Presentation

Most organizations opt for simple handoffs when it comes to presenting their challenge coins.

Many people do not like having attention called to them. Some servicemen say their coins were simply given to them after a handshake from their commanders. While most people like being praised for their work, the fanfare is not necessary for these particular prizes.

Bring Your Team Together with Unique Challenge Coins

Custom challenge coins are unique and can be used for a multitude of things.

Whether you wish to improve your employees’ morale or whether you simply wish to reward your team’s excellent work together, these coins make for a great prize for your company to present.

With our help, we can get you set up with a custom design that will last for a long time to come.

Your Guide to Challenge Custom Coins

Challenge coins have a lot of value. If you’re unfamiliar with the tradition of custom coins, read all about challenge coins here.

custom coinsAn estimated 30% of war veterans will experience PTSD at least once in their lives. Every year, nearly 45,000 Americans take their own lives.

More than 50% of people are deeply unhappy with their current place of work.

Think these three statistics are unrelated?

Think again.

Whether you or someone you love has served in the military, has survived a suicide attempt, or just feels unchallenged and unappreciated in their work life, chances are that what they really need is someone to talk to, and someone to listen to them.

However, as we’ve all likely experienced, sometimes asking for help can be hard.

This is where challenge and custom coins can come into play.

But what are challenge coins, and how can they help to both improve and save lives?

Read on to find out.

The Different Uses Of Challenge Coins

So, what exactly are these custom coins, also referred to as challenge coins?

They began, primarily, as a military tradition.

In the past (and still to this day!) members of a regiment were each given a single coin. When a soldier showed their coin, it automatically meant that everyone else in the room needed to produce their coin as well. If someone had lost their coin, or simply didn’t have it on them, they would be responsible for buying everyone a round.

These custom coins not only helped to develop a strong sense of camaraderie among military members. As time progressed, the coins began to take on a more significant symbol.

After the end of their military service, military veterans often produce their coins in a civilian environment. This signals to the other vets in the room that they need someone to talk to. Perhaps they’re going through a tough bout of PTSD, maybe they’re feeling depressed, or they might just be looking for a friend.

Whatever the reason, showing custom coins and challenge coins in the “real world” is a sign that help, in any form, was needed. It is also a symbol of mutual respect and friendship — a way to find people that know exactly what you’re going through, because they’ve been there themselves.

Different Types Of Challenge Coins

Because of the high success rate of the military challenge coins, custom coin culture has exploded in recent years.

Not only are they incredible collector’s items, they can also help to celebrate a special occasion or work as a part of your employee recognition program.

Today, there are many types of coins for people from all walks of life.

For example, there are coins for firefighters, police officers, Masonic members, veterans, and even standard corporate coins.

Especially popular are suicide prevention coins, which usually come with either a yellow or white ribbon placed subtly in the design.

Whenever someone is feeling suicidal or depressed, all they need to do is present the coin to a person that they trust. The coin will serve as an unspoken signal that the person in distress needs immediate attention — without them having to do anything other than hand the coin over.

In short, no matter which type of profession you want to help commemorate, chances are that there are already several custom coins for it.

How Custom Coins Help People

Now that you know all about the different types and uses of challenge coins, let’s take a look at how they actually help people.

First of all, especially for those who once served in the military, it’s easy to feel forgotten or overlooked. It’s also hard not to feel like a burden upon a return to civilian life.

These coins help veterans — and their family members — to open up the lines of communication. In some cases, challenge coins are even used as recruitment tools.

When a new member of the military gets their challenge coin, it’s like getting an acceptance into an exclusive club. Some may even choose to have a special ceremony to commemorate the occasion.

Challenge coins are also a wonderful and effective way to boost employee morale, and to make the people working for you feel valued.

The flexibility of the meaning of challenge coins makes them the perfect solution for nearly any workplace issue.

Is someone dealing with sexual harassment at work, or is a survivor of assault? They can simply hand their coin over to a human resources representative to signal safely and without drawing attention to themselves that they need help.

Want to incorporate more employee feedback in your leadership style at the office? When an employee hands you their coin, it can signal that they’re having a problem or see an issue that needs addressing privately.

Need Custom Coins? Let Us Help

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand the meaningful — and sometimes truly lifesaving — history behind challenge coins.

Now that you know more about how they can help to unite veterans, your employees, those struggling with mental illness, and much more?

It’s time to have your own custom coins created.

That’s where we come in.

We offer a wide range of classic designs, in addition to working with you to create custom artwork that will make your coins stand out.

Spend some time on our website to learn more about how our years of experience, dedication to quality craftsmanship, and expertise in dealing with sensitive issues surrounding challenge coins can help you to create the perfect pieces.

We offer your 100% satisfaction guarantee, and our glowing testimonials speak for themselves. Reach out to us to get your custom price quote today.

The 411 on Police Challenge Coins

A Quick Guide on Police Challenge Coins

Police challenge coins have a long history behind them. Here, we’ll talk a bit about what they are, how popular they are, and why you may want to give one.

Police challenge coins have a long, storied history. Challenge coins were first used by the Romans to reward soldiers and the practice what then adopted by the military.

The same pride and camaraderie instilled in military units by challenge coins can be found in police units throughout the country.

Today, law enforcement challenge coins have become so popular, come cities are creating their own challenge coin program to reward the hard work of the men and women in blue.

Read on to learn more about what challenge coins are, how they became so popular and why you want them in your unit.

History of Police Challenge Coins

Challenge coins are small coins that bear some kind of insignia, logo, or motto to identify the coin’s owner with a particular group or unit.

In the military, no one truly knows how they came to be popular. Some stories have the challenge coin originating during World War I, while other stories say the coins were used during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Once they became popular in the military, it was only natural for challenge coins to be used in government and law enforcement agencies. That’s because many veterans choose a career in law enforcement after service.

The size and designs of challenge coins have evolved over time, too. At first, challenge coins were about an inch in diameter. They have grown in average size to about 1.75.” They can come in different shapes and sizes.

You can get as creative as you want when designing your challenge coin. You just need to make sure your core message is consistent across other marketing and community building efforts.

Why Challenge Coins for Police

Similar to the military, law enforcement challenge coins are used to instill unity among unit members and to recognize excellent work.

The thing about challenge coins is that they’re not distributed with a ceremony. The recognition comes in the form of a handshake.

Challenge coins can be used to tell a story that bonds the unit. Officers tend to carry the coins or have them displayed someplace important. Whenever they’re asked what the coins are, they respond with “I got this one when…”

Within units, coins are used to bond over events or projects. These coins tell unit members that they belong and they are a part of the group, that they’re members of something special.

You don’t have to be a law enforcement officer to have a challenge coin. Police challenge coins can be used in community building efforts, such as fundraising. Does your town have a law enforcement 5k or similar event?

A challenge coin would be a great way to reward participants and help identify the police force with a memorable event.

Create Unity and Pride with Police Challenge Coins

Police challenge coins are an affordable way to reward officers for excellence, raise the profile of the police department, and build camaraderie.

With so many reasons to have challenge coins in your police force, don’t hesitate to place your order today.

Brief History of Challenge Coins

A Brief History of Challenge Coin Tradition.

You may not be familiar with challenge coins as a historic tradition. It’s also a possibility that you have come across challenge coins but were not aware that the coins were in fact challenge coins. If you are a civilian who grew up with no direct contact with the military lifestyle or any other similar authority, then your lack of knowledge regarding challenge coins is completely acceptable.

Challenge coins are like a token or a medallion. It signifies that you are a part of a respectable unit and carry the coin like an honor. Challenge coins look somewhat similar to standard coins but the design differs greatly which vastly separates challenge coins from standard coins. A challenge coin can range from 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter and is a one-tenth inch thick.  It is not only the size that can vary, some designs do not look like coins at all.

Tracking the History of Challenge Coins

The origins and history of the challenge coins are quite confusing. Nobody has a definite answer on the very first challenge coin or when the tradition the actually began. Some people say that the tradition of the custom challenge coins may have begun hundreds of years ago during the ancient roman times while others narrow it down to 50 years. During ancient Rome Challenge coins were also known as “Portrait Medals” and were used to commemorate specific events involving royalty and nobility.

If we go way back in history, then a soldier being awarded a monetary reward for valor could be rewarded with a challenge coin. If the soldier had shown extraordinary efforts, he was rewarded with an extra challenge coin. Some countries minted the coin with a particular insignia so that the coin would not be wasted but kept as a memento instead.

On a later note in history, there is a more common story associated with custom challenge coins. During the World War One, an American fighter pilot was shot down and captured by the Germans. He was kept hostage at a detention facility that was later attacked by the British forces and the American fighter pilot escaped. At some later point, the pilot came in confrontation with the French soldiers who mistaken him to be German. This nearly cost his life. Although the soldier was without many personal belongings, he did have a challenge coin that was received from his Lieutenant before deployment. The coin had American Unit’s insignia and other marks as well. That challenge coin saved his life.

Challenge Coins Today

The history of the tradition may be vague but custom challenge coins have become an extended tradition in the modern world. It is not only special security forces like the military that use them but firefighters, sailors, police and even big corporations have custom challenge coins representing their unity.

If you are looking to adopt the tradition of challenge coins, you can visit customchallengecoins.net to order your custom coins. We make high-quality custom coins that signify honor and multiple accomplishments associated with your brand.

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POLICE COINS

Ideal to recognize and honor the vital role that law enforcement officers play in the community. Often working in conditions of extreme danger, the awarding of coins and medals is formal recognition of commitment and dedication beyond the call of duty. The custom police coin acknowledges our men and women in blue for their heroic service by giving them an emblem to remember. We have a team of talented artist that can create a custom police coin designed specially for your needs. All of our artwork designs are free. Get a free quote today!