7 Ways To Make Unique Custom Challenge Coins

Follow our tips in making unique custom challenge coins that make the gift that much sweeter.

Whether you’re looking for the right way to say “thank you,” want to support a friend that’s going through a tough time, or if you just want to create a sense of camaraderie in any organization, customized challenge coins are a great way to make it happen.

You want your coin’s design to be as unique and special as the person you’re giving it to — but you’re struggling to come up with ideas that make you tick.

Read on to learn more about how to create unique custom challenge coins that will bring people together, honor another person, save a life, or just serve as a reminder of how much you care.

1. Highlight an Important Date

Printing an important date somewhere on a challenge coin is a wonderful way to make it even more special to the person receiving it.

Custom Memorial CoinYou could give a coin with the date of a family reunion printed on it to everyone who attended your festivities. You could give your husband/wife a coin with the date when you first met on it before they head off for deployment.

If you want to honor a deceased loved one, you could even create a coin with the departed’s birth and death dates on it.

2. Recognize a Specific Accomplishment

While custom challenge coins are often given to multiple members of an organization, profession, or military unit, they’re also great ways to celebrate a special occasion in someone’s life.

Air Force Challenge CoinWe also love the idea of creating a special challenge coin in honor of someone’s college graduation, their new job, their move to a different city, or even the birth of a new child!

The possibilities are endless here, and the coin serves as a lifelong reminder of an achievement that changed someone’s life for the better.

Why not try using them as wedding favors, too?

3. Include Life-Saving Contact Information

Another great tip for understanding how to make unique custom challenge coins?

Create coins that are specifically designed to help people remember important phone numbers like suicide hotlines, roadside assistance numbers, or even advocates for victims of abuse.

This is an excellent way to spread the word about a cause you care about and have a genuine impact on the lives of others at the same time.

Check out this list of some of the most important emergency contacts that you should have in your phone.

This kind of challenge coin is especially excellent for elderly people who live alone, or people with learning differences who may have trouble remembering the number they need to call in case of an emergency.

Having this tangible reminder can save lives.

4. Select a Special Quote

Another way to make personalized and unique custom challenge coins that much more special?

Include a short and sweet quote on one side of the coin.

You could select a quote that you know means a lot to the specific individual, or use the same quote on all your coins to motivate your team towards success. Whenever your team is feeling lost, stressed out, or just in need of a little wisdom, they can take out the coin and read it to get the boost they’re looking for.

5. Go for Unique Edges

When designing challenge coins, many people are so focused on the look of the face of the coin, that they completely neglect the possibilities that the edges offer!

Coast Guard Honolulu Challenge CoinYou can choose from all different colors and textures, including a thicker rope design, silver or gold, or even edges that contain a few words circling the coin.

Check out our gallery to get a better understanding of the different kinds of edges that are possible.

6. Try an Unexpected Shape

You don’t have to go for the traditional circular shape when you’re designing your custom challenge coin!

If you want to know how to make custom challenge coins unique, sometimes straying from the standard shape can take things to the next level.

For example, you could have the coin made in the shape of a medical cross if you’re giving them to emergency response teams. You could have the coin made in the shape of a Scouts-syle merit badge if you want to honor a member of your corporate team.

Want to reward members of a Habitat for Humanity volunteer team? Go for a triangular shape that mimics the look of a house.

7. Find a Quality Challenge Coin Company

The number-one thing to keep in mind when you’re ready to design unique custom challenge coins?

Make sure you find a quality, experienced challenge coin company that will communicate with you to ensure they come up with a coin that exceeds your expectations.

They should have verified reviews on their website, take pride in their work, and have even offer you free design services if needed.

Ready to Bring Your Unique Custom Challenge Coins to Life?

We hope that this post has helped you to realize the limitless possibilities you have when it comes to designing customized challenge coins.

Are you ready to start creating challenge coins to give to family members, friends, servicemen and women, or even your fellow employees?

If so, we want to help you make it happen.

Reach out to us today for a free price quote on your unique custom challenge coins.

We’re also happy to make design suggestions, help you to realize your vision more clearly, and fill you in on any of our current specials.

We look forward to helping you create something that will hold meaning to those you give it to for years to come.

The History and Rules of the Challenge Coin

The challenge coin is something few people know about, but those who do, these coins are very symbolic and meaningful. Learn more about the history of challenge coins and the rules of giving/receiving them in our article.

Never heard of a challenge coin? Don’t worry — you’re not the only one. The reality, though, is that the challenge coin has a long and intriguing history.

Although the challenge coin is something that few people know about, these coins are very symbolic and meaningful among those who have received them.

Here’s a glimpse at the history of the challenge coin and at the rules you’ll need to follow when giving and receiving them.

Let’s get started!

The Purpose and Appearance of a Challenge Coin

Many traditions have helped to build camaraderie among military personnel over the years. However, carrying challenge coins is one of the most well-respected ones. And today, they aren’t restricted to the military (even though they largely remain a mystery among those who are not in the armed forces).

Challenge coins are essentially small tokens or medallions that signify that people are members of certain organizations.

The diameters of challenge coins are usually between 1.5 and 2 inches, and these coins are typically around 1/10 inch thick. However, their sizes and styles vary greatly. Some may even take the shapes of dog tags, arrowheads, pentagons, and shields.

Challenge coins are usually made of nickel, copper or pewter and feature various finishes. Some feature simple designs, whereas others have more elaborate designs and highlights.

The Coin’s Origination

It’s not completely clear exactly where and why the challenge coin tradition began. However, we do know that military service and coins go back much farther than the modern age — possibly as far back as Ancient Rome.

In Rome, if soldiers excelled in battle one day, they would receive their typical day’s wages along with a separate bonus coin each. According to some accounts, these bonus coins were specially minted, featuring the marks of the legions from which they came. As a result, some soldiers apparently kept their coins as mementos, instead of spending them on wine and women.

These types of coins are still handed out today to reward people for jobs well done, particularly in the military. However, some administrators treat them much like autographs and business cards that they can store in their own collections.

Still, some soldiers use challenge coins today as identification badges proving that they served in certain units. Meanwhile, other challenge coins are distributed to the civilian population for publicity purposes or are sold as fundraising tools.

Possibly the First Challenge Coin

Another well-known story about the emergence of the challenge coin dates back to the First World War. At that time, a rich officer gave his men bronze medallions featuring the insignia of their flying squadron. Not long after that, a young flying ace was shot down and captured.

Germans are said to have removed everything from the ace’s person except for a pouch he was wearing — one that held his medallion. After he escaped to France, he was sentenced to die, as the French labeled him a spy. However, the ace presented his medallion as proof of his identity.

Because one of the French soldiers recognized the insignia, France delayed the ace’s execution. After his identity was confirmed, the ace was returned to his flying unit.

Later, holes were drilled in these types of medallions so that military men could place them around the neck rather than inside leather pouches.

The Challenge

So, where exactly does the “challenge” idea come from?

According to some stories, “the challenge” started after the Second World War in Germany. Americans stationed in Germany began to conduct “pfennig checks,” or checks for this low-denomination German coin. If you couldn’t produce a pfennig when someone else called a check, you had to buy the beers.

The pfennig check later evolved to a unit medallion check, with unit members challenging one another by slamming their medallions down on a bar. Any member who lacked his medallion had to purchase drinks for everyone else who had their coins. Meanwhile, if everyone could present a medallion, the challenger was the one who had to buy the drinks.

The same essentially applies today.

However, instead of firmly placing your challenge coin on the bar to initiate a coin check, you can raise your coin in the air and shout that you’re initiating a check. You could also accidentally initiate a check if you inadvertently drop your challenge coin.

In addition, to succeed in a challenge, you must have your challenge coin within arm’s length from you. If you don’t, well — tough luck.

Now, naturally, you may refuse to buy drinks for everyone if you end up losing the challenge. Note, however, that this is a detestable crime — one that may require you to return your coin to the agency that issued it to you.

And another thing: Challenge coin checks are allowed anytime and anyplace. So, be prepared.

Coins Today

If you receive a challenge coin today, you’ll likely get it via a secret handshake. This isn’t always the case, but it is a tradition upheld by many.

You can receive a challenge coin by being a part of a police department or fire department or by being involved with the Boy Scouts or the Lions Club, for example. The challenge coin has become a highly collectible and long-lasting way for people to show their allegiance anyplace and anytime.

How We Can Help

We offer high-quality, prestigious and custom-made coins for your organization. We are confident you will not find better craftsmanship anywhere else.

Our designers can use your emblems and colors to highlight the achievements and occasion you are interested in recognizing. Then, you’ll be able to review a proof showing you how your coin will look. If you see anything you don’t like, you can easily make the necessary changes to get your coin perfect.

You can expect your newly minted coins to show every detail of your design. And all of our products are individually packaged and shipped at no cost.

Get in touch with us today to find out more about the challenge coin and how we can deliver the perfect custom coins to you this year. Just fill out the price quote below to begin the process for your next custom challenge coin!