Can You Rise to the Challenge of a Coin Check?

Wondering what a coin check is and what the rules are? We’ll explain it all in this guide.

The actual history of challenge coins is widely debated amongst military scholars. But one thing is clear: the coin check.

In this article, we’ll discuss the “coin check,” and some of the origins of it. We’ll also discuss some of the rules, and where they may vary from work culture to work culture or from military station to station.

It is important to remember that these rules are not necessarily set in stone because we know that the origins are tenuous. Therefore, if you want to initiate a coin challenge tradition within your ranks, it is important that everyone knows the rules before proceeding.

Coin checks often take place in bars, so it’s better to establish the rules before you start drinking so that there isn’t a drunken fight later.

Read on for more information on coin checks.

Where Did Challenge Coins Come From?

As stated previously, the history of challenge coins is widely debated. So much so, that historians can’t settle on where the coins came from. But they do know that they’re now popular in the military and with those who work with and serve a sitting president.

One story states that the challenge coin originated in World War I when many men joined up for an adventure, not really understanding what war would entail. An especially excited one decided to mint coins for his regiment, which they could all keep as a memento following the war.

It turned out that one of the men was shot down over Germany and taken as a POW. He escaped, with nothing to identify him but the coin from his regiment around his neck. In this case, it was put into a leather pouch instead of hung like a necklace.

Once he reached France, they were convinced he was a spy because of his limited understanding of French. They decided to execute him.

As luck would have it, someone recognized the challenge coin and the regiment, and the man was ultimately spared.

While we don’t know how true this is, we do know it is one of the most popular challenge coin origin stories.

Coin Check Origin

The coin check also has several different origins, all of which could be true.

The first one takes place in Germany following the Second World War when many foreign soldiers were assigned to help rebuild the country. As a way to pass time in the bars, some of the soldiers instituted a pfennig check, a precursor to a coin check. At the time, a pfennig was the lowest denomination of German coins.

The fellow, or fellows, who did not have a pfennig on them were then responsible for picking up the next round of drinks. This then evolved to asking for their challenge, or regiment coins. Those that didn’t have them on them were also asked to purchase the next round.

There are also some shaky origins in Vietnam and with Vietnam veterans, where some instituted the challenge coin check to keep bars exclusive to certain veterans or soldiers.

Where Can You Initiate a Coin Check?

Anywhere. It is most often done in a bar or a pub, but you can do it anywhere where someone will need to buy something if he or she doesn’t produce it. You could do it over dinner or going out for dessert. If you live in a fraternity or sorority house that uses coins, you could also use a coin check to randomly assign the least desirable chores for that day or evening.

Generally, though, it is reserved for drinking.

How to Initiate a Coin Check

If you wish to initiate a coin check, you will attempt to get everyone’s attention and show your coin. This means you’ve challenged everyone. You can do this by shouting, screaming, or slamming your coin on the table in a way that everyone can see it.

If you drop your coin, and it makes a noise, this means you’ve accidentally initiated a coin check, a consequence of not taking care of your coin properly. After this, the same rules will apply for the coin check.

Coin Check Initiation Response

The response is for everyone present to place their challenge coins on the table in front of them in a timely manner. Everyone in your party must do so, no exceptions!

What If Everyone Has Their Coins?

You can agree on two scenarios in this case, but ensure your party knows this ahead of time. If everyone has their coins, the last person to produce it will then be responsible for purchasing the round of drinks, desserts, meal, or whatever you’ve agreed upon.

The second scenario is that if everyone has their coins, the person who called for the challenge coin check will then have to purchase the round of drinks, desserts, or do whatever chore you’ve designated.

It is tradition that the person asking for the coin check is “punished” if they initiate and everyone has their coins. But, it is up to your party to decide the rules.

Buying Custom Challenge Coins

Custom challenge coins are a great way not only to participate in a hilarious coin check, but to also instill the members of your regiment or club with a sense of pride.

If you’re interested in purchasing a set, contact us for a custom quote. We can help you choose a challenge coin that you and your fellows will cherish for years to come.

6 Facts About Military Challenge Coins You Didn’t Know

Military challenge coins have an interesting history and can be used as reminders of special events or friends. Here are some facts you need to know about them.

A majority of military veterans report missing the camaraderie and special social network that enlisted service members leave behind after their tour. One of the special ways that veterans and active members connect with one another is through challenge coins.Military challenge coins play a unique role in the social aspect of service duty after veterans return.

Challenge coins can be offered by superior officers to members who are participating in a specific program or mission. These medallions are typically two inches wide and made of metal. It’s not uncommon for them to be traded between personnel and have seen an increasing popularity to commemorate events outside of the military.

If you’re new to the concept of challenge coins or if you’ve just received your first one, you should get to know what they’re all about. Here are six facts about military challenge coins that you probably didn’t know.

1. Military Challenge Coins Are Collector’s Items

Go to any flea market or military supply show and you’re sure to come across a few display cases worth of challenge coins. Every coin has its own story and they are often tied to the history of a particular mission, unit, or organization. Because they’re fairly easy to produce, offices can produce enough to distribute to every member.

While there are rare coins are made of solid gold, while others are made of cheaper brass or zinc.

Some coins will be rarer than others. This is fairly easy to discern from the content of the coin itself. If the coin commemorates an event or a unit you’ve never heard of, there might have been only a few produced.

Coins that are rarer will yield a higher value and carry a special premium to any collector who receives one.

If you know of anyone who was in the military, they might have a coin or two that are sitting and collecting dust under the bed. Ask around so you can start building your collection.

2. History Buffs Love Challenge Coins

If you or anyone you know has a deep love of history and military campaigns, challenge coins can be great centerpieces for conversation.

History buffs might know that military challenge coins were given out in ancient Rome after a soldier returned from a particularly serious battle. They were replaced with other symbols until the first World War where one rich lieutenant made them for his own unit.

During that war, one soldier rescued by American allies was assumed to be German or to be a spy. The only piece of identification he had was the bronze coin his lieutenant had offered him.

By presenting his coin, he was supposedly spared from death at the hands of his own country’s allies. This is what gave them the name “challenge coins” and made them a practical and powerful instrument in the fog of war.

3. They Are Expected To Be Presented

The instances of being presented with a challenge where you have to show your coin are rare and specific. To increase morale, troops decided to find other reasons to have to present them. One is a game where the last person to put down their military challenge coin on the table needs to buy the next round of drinks.

This comes from a German drinking tradition where one person calls for everyone to put a penny or pfennig on the table.

While there were still some instances where the coins would need to be used for identification, over time it became more of a morale booster. You could be a bar and suddenly hear a cacophony of slams and realize it’s time to slam your own on the table.

4. Coins Can Be A Recruiting Tool

Inside and outside of the military, challenge coins can be used to recruit new members. They are passed during a handshake to tell new members that they are one of the in-crowd.

They provide a symbolic representation of achievements and alliances to be made by joining a group. It could be something as clandestine as a secret society or something as important as a fire department.

Even though they were created to acknowledge the service of military staff, they are now used in civilian life for all kinds of recruitment efforts.

5. They Commemorate Civilian Events

Military challenge coins no longer need to be tied to war and conflict. They can be used by companies to recognize the achievements of their best sales staff. As the price to produce them has decreased, they can even be used for something like commemorating a stag trip or family reunion.

Even within the military, the exchange of coins is more tied to camaraderie and social networking than for their identifying purpose. You will still find some groups keeping up the tradition of the drink-buying challenge.

You now find interesting custom logos from organizations, corporations, and social clubs all throughout the challenge coin world. They can now be found honoring people who reach a special executive or cultural achievement as often as they’ll be given out within the military.

6. Most Presidents Have a Special One

Since the 1990s, presidents have been creating and handing out their own challenge coins. They will make one version available in gift shops and for the general public. A special version is reserved to honor the achievements of some civilians.

The last few vice presidents have also produced their own challenge coins to hand out in honor of some civilians.

If you ever get recognized by the president for your contributions to the country, expect to be handed one directly from them.

Military Challenge Coins Create History

When someone commissions a challenge coin for their company, association, or military group, they are creating a marker of history. Each person who receives one is known to have a special connection to the event or the organization depicted on the coin. This makes everyone involved feel uniquely tied to an elite group of people.

If you’re interested in learning more about military challenge coins, contact us for even more history and facts.

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.

Save