While they have a long, fascinating history for service members, challenge coins are now enjoyed by civilians, businesses, and private groups as well.
Challenge coins are an excellent way to honor a special achievement, recognize milestones, and showcase solidarity amongst individuals. Before you go dreaming up your own coin design, it’s always good to understand the basics of engraved challenge coins, what they represent, and how to find the right designer.
Features of Engraved Challenge Coins
Commonly, challenge coins are round and small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. However, some coins come in unique shapes. We do badge shaped coins, coins shaped like planes, trucks, cars, triangles, letters, numbers, and more. Your coin can be almost any shape and the only real limit is your imagination.
The most common type of engraving is laser-engraved sequential numbering. The laser engraving is on a raised surface of metal but it doesn’t always need to be rectangular to work. For instance, we developed coins for a police department that would allow them to show off their badge numbers on the coins. The laser engraving made it so each coin could be customized for every individual officer while the same die could be used for each order.
Some customers choose to leave sections of their coins blank to get them engraved later on at jewelry stores. This allows them to add names, ranks, dates, or times as needed while still maintaining the overall design of their engraved challenge coins.
If you have a motto or catchphrase, you can even get that engraved into the coin or around the edge.
Many challenge coins can have multiple upgrades including the engraving. Some double as bottle openers and others have cutouts. Depending on your interests, your coin can be made from a variety of different metals, too. Common metals are brass, iron, and zinc alloy, though most coins are made from brass. Ultimately, however, the metal that is used will depend on the design of the coin. This helps your design come out the way you want without sacrificing any quality.
Designs can be as simple or as complex as you want. Some of our favorites have multiple colors, tones, and inscriptions across them. A simple statement can be just as powerful as a bold one, too. Your designer can help refine your ideas into a worthy finished coin that is perfectly representative of your brand, group, and needs.
Now that you know a bit more about the fundamentals of engraved challenge coins, it’s time to learn just what they represent and why they’ve remained so popular for so long.
What Do Challenge Coins Stand For?
As you saw, challenge coins have a particularly fascinating history in the military. In fact, depending on the historian you ask, you may hear some wildly different, often conflicting stories. This is because no single person is 100% sure how the challenge coin tradition truly started. All we know is that it has deep roots in the armed forces and service branches. Nowadays, even presidents have gotten in on the challenge coin tradition. Each president since Clinton has developed their own unique challenge coin to pass out to soldiers, foreign ambassadors, and honored civilians.
As the tradition grew, many first responders started incorporating challenge coins into their workplaces as a sign of solidarity and companionship amongst teammates.
Of course, this once-exclusive tradition has spread outside the military. Many civilian groups are starting to take note of the value of challenge coins. This is because the coins represent many values that resonate with individuals across the country.
Challenge coins stand for many things all at once. They recognize entire organizations, teams, and units. They showcase allegiance and commitment. Coins can also commemorate a notable achievement, a special occasion, or an anniversary. Challenge coins are physical representations of the close bonds that teams develop and they showcase unity amongst those that hold them.
For many civilian groups, these are ways to build team morale, connect individuals who have shared interests, and even promote business brands in a clever, unique way.
To break down the purposes of challenge coins, think of the following key terms:
- Membership: A challenge coin that represents membership should only be carried by actual members of the group it belongs to. In the military, challenge coins exist as proof that you were a part of a team or unit or that you served on a specific tour of duty. In the past, military coins were also used as a form of security and to prove allegiance.
- Recognition: Rewarding someone with a unique challenge coin for going above and beyond their duties is an excellent way to recognize outstanding service whether it’s in the military or in the workplace. Many team members will work hard to acquire a challenge coin of their own so it’s a great way to boost productivity and morale.
- Bonding: For military service members, challenge coins are a way to stay connected. They can bring up memories, spark conversations, and help form new friendships. Many veterans hold onto their coins for life and frequently have them on display.
- Branding: More recently, businesses have started to hand out challenge coins at networking events, conferences, and expos. These often have brand logos or mottos and are more memorable than your standard event goodies. Some schools, sports teams, and other private groups have started to use coins too.
With all of this knowledge at hand, the last thing that’s left for you to do is to find the right designer who can execute your vision. So, where do you turn? How do you finalize a design? What does the challenge coin process entail? That’s where we can help.
Choosing an Engraved Challenge Coins Designer
At Custom Challenge Coins, we have years of industry experience creating memorable, expertly crafted engraved challenge coins that will be cherished for ages to come. We’re ready to work alongside you to take your vision and turn it into a reality. Whether you’re looking to honor a team or brand your business, we know how to craft a coin that will exceed your expectations.
If you’re looking into engraved challenge coins for your organization or an upcoming event, you can contact us today to learn more about our coin crafting process. You can also submit a request online to receive a quote for your order. Developing a custom coin is an excellent choice for teams large and small. Custom Challenge Coins can help you design the perfect coin for any occasion.