How to Present a Challenge Coin

6 minute read

Published on: 28 Feb 2024

Last modified on: 29 Mar 2024

how to present a challenge coin
Table of Contents

What if everything you knew about challenge coins was wrong?

Top Highlights

  • Explain The Challenge Coin Tradition And Customs
  • Explaining the Coin Check Tradition
  • Social Etiquette: Do's and Don'ts with Challenge Coins
  • What To Do When you Lose a Challenge Coin
  • Displaying Your Challenge Coin

Challenge coins are fascinating objects with an equally fascinating history. Unfortunately, many who own them do not know how to show a challenge coin to others.

Do you know what to do in such a situation? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the best way to present a challenge coin!

Understanding The Challenge Coin: Tradition and Custom

We've put together a complete guide to challenge coin etiquette. Before we dive in, though, let's explore a simpler topic: what is a challenge coin, anyway?

While different organizations use challenge coins now, it all started as a military tradition. For soldiers, the
coins served as a symbol of their shared military experience. Other organizations now use coins to serve as a symbol of their camaraderie and teamwork.

It's possible for different kinds of coins to indicate things like special ranks or special types of service. On
the most basic level, though, coins serve as a sign of devotion. And if someone initiates a "coin check" (more on this later), you must have your coin on you.

Explaining the Rules and Traditions of Challenge Coins

We're going to get into the coin check process soon. First, though, you should know that there are typically winners or losers when a coin check happens.

how to present a challenge coin

The check usually happens in a bar or other setting where alcohol is served. Generally, a "loser" (someone
who either does not have the coin or cannot quickly produce it) will have to buy someone else alcohol.

Sometimes, the rule is to buy a single drink (for instance, to the person who initiated the check). Other times, the rule is to buy a round of drinks. Make sure everyone knows the rules ahead of time when you give them a challenge coin so they aren't blindsided by the actual check.

Obviously, people may present coins outside of these settings. In that case, the check may not be a
competition but instead an opportunity for one person to remind another of their shared experiences

Always Have Your Challenge Coin at Hand

The general expectation is that you should have the coin on you at all times. You should not alter the coin so you can do things like wear it as a necklace. Instead, you should keep it in your wallet, pocket, or another accessible place.

When someone declares a coin check, you have to move quickly to produce your challenge coin. How
quickly are we talking? If you have to take more than 4 steps to retrieve your coin (for example, moving from the bar back to your table to get it), you have already lost the challenge.

Of course, even the most experienced challenge coin veterans will eventually fail to produce a coin in time. That's part of the fun of checking coins: there is almost always a loser, and the experience of buying the next drink will help them remember their coin in the future.

The Coin Check: A Key Tradition

We've talked a lot about coin checking. But what does the actual coin check process look like?

In some cases, a person may initiate a check verbally. When this happens, they usually say (or shout) "coin
check!" In other cases, someone can physically initiate such a check by holding their coin above their head or slamming it down upon a table.

If you're new to challenge coins, here's the good news: it's pretty clear when someone has initiated a check. You just need to know what to do (and what not to do) when that happens.

Do's and Don'ts with Your Challenge Coin

Now you know a bit more about what happens when someone declares a coin check. However, this process is all about following particular social etiquette. And that's why it is important to review what not to do with these coins and these coin challenges.

We already reviewed one item: never damage or deface your coin. While transforming it into a necklace may sound practical, damaging the coin to do so is a sign of disrespect.

Additionally, never hand someone a challenge coin unless you are giving it to them. To show someone your coin during a check, you can simply hold it in your palm or lift it up above your head.

If you are the one handing out challenge coins, make sure everyone in your unit or team receives one. If only certain people get these coins, then they can ultimately cause disruption instead of a sense of team-

The Outcome When Everyone Has Their Coin

You know what happens if someone initiates a coin check and one (or more) people do not have their coins. But what happens if everyone has a coin? There are different possible rules for this, and it's up to you and your team to figure out which rule you like the best.

The simplest rule is that the person who initiated the coin check must now buy the drinks. In this sense, the challenger has "lost" because everyone present has a coin.

showing a custom challenge coin

Another rule may be that the slowest person must buy the drinks. In this sense, the last person who
produces his or her coin has lost the challenge.

Either rule is perfectly suitable. Just make sure everyone knows what these rules are and be consistent
about enforcing them.

What to Do If You Lose Your Challenge Coin

You are expected to have your challenge coin on you at all times. But what if you lose a coin?

In that case, you need to replace the challenge coin as soon as possible. You might do so by requesting one from the person who gave you the original coin. In some cases, you may be able to replace the original coin you lost with a new one that you have designed.

Either way, don't make losing your coins a habit. This can be seen as a sign of disrespect for the unit or

Displaying and Sharing Your Challenge Coin: The Next Steps

Now you know all about how to show a challenge coin. But do you know where you can make
unforgettable challenge coins for your entire team?

Here at Custom Challenge Coins, we can bring your coin dreams to life. To see how we can make those
challenge coin dreams come true, contact us today!

Joshua Allen

Joshua is the newest member of the Custom Challenge Coins team, bringing with him a fresh perspective grounded in his SEO experience and his service in the armed forces. Beginning his journey with us earlier this year, Joshua is passionate about merging his military experiences with his interest in SEO and custom challenge coins. His writing reflects a blend of practical knowledge and enthusiasm for the subjects he covers. Outside of work, Joshua is keen on exploring technological innovations and contributing his unique insights to the Custom Challenge Coins community. If you have a story or a special coin order that you’d like to see featured, reach out to Joshua at

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