Military challenge coins have a long and storied history that not very many people know about.
You've probably seen a military challenge coin before, maybe on TV in a special ceremony or at your grandparents' house, but have you ever gotten an explanation of what they are? As a company in the business of making custom challenge coins, we often get asked, "what are challenge coins?", so we're here to give you the definitive rundown of these small, but interesting pieces of metal.
Believe it or not, there's a bit of mystique surrounding them. With conflicting stories about their origin and historical purpose, it can be hard to sift through fact and fiction, but we're going to try.
First Of All, What Are Challenge Coins?
Before we get into the background of challenge coins and what they represent, we should tell you what exactly a challenge coin is. It's a custom made coin that commemorates anything from being on a sports team to being in the military and everything in between.
Having one is a special honor that only challenge coin holders have, but anyone can have a custom challenge coin made these days. Traditionally, they're small and round with distinctive artwork on them that signifies what the coin is for. They might also have some wording on them, like a motto or slogan, or the recipient's name so that it doesn't ever get misplaced.
With custom challenge coins, you can expand upon the traditional motif to include unique coin shapes, different kinds of metal plating, and other decorative items. We'll discuss custom challenge coins a little bit more later on, but for now, let's dig into the surprisingly interesting (and not altogether certain) the history of the challenge coin.
Where and How Did They Start?
Now, the history of the challenge coin is a little bit mysterious because there are more than a few stories that purport to be the real deal. What we can say for near-certain is that challenge coins originated as "military challenge coins", but beyond that, we may never know for sure. Fortunately, all of the stories are really interesting, so we'll talk about two of the most popular ones.
Ancient Roman Challenge Coins
There's potential that the challenge coin tradition dates all the way back to ancient Rome. Challenge coins go hand in hand with the military, so it would make sense that one of the most well-known militaries in history is where they began.
It's a simple story: if certain Roman soldiers or units excelled in battle, they'd get their normal day's wage but with an extra, specially minted, coin along with it. Apparently, these special coins would even have their legions market on it, so the soldiers would hang onto them instead of spending them with the rest of their pay.
The other popular origin story for challenge coins comes to us from much more recent times. The story goes that a particularly rich battalion leader gave each of his men bronze medallions with their flying squadron printed on them.
When one of the pilots was shot down over Germany, he was captured by the German soldiers, who took all of his belongings except the pouch containing his medallion. Eventually, the soldier escaped and fled to France, but upon arrival, he was thought to be a spy because he didn't have any of his identification.
Before he could be executed, the pilot remembered that he had his coin and showed it to the French troops. One of them recognized the insignia and the pilot was returned back to his unit.
What Do Challenge Coins Represent Today?
Regardless of where the tradition originated from, military challenge coins are now commonplace in armies all over the world. They're presented to public officials to honor their service to their country and they can be given to anyone to commemorate any sort of special achievement.
At Custom Challenge Coins, we specialize in manufacturing custom coins so that you can give your loved one the perfect way to remember something they've done. You don't have to be a president or a war hero to get a challenge coin, but you do have to have loving family members and friends that appreciate you and your achievements.
How to Make Your Own Custom Challenge Coins
To have a challenge coin made for someone you love, just visit our website at www.customchallengecoins.net, where you'll find a wide variety of coins for military members, police, firefighters, masons, and pretty much anyone else you can think of. The process is simple, you tell us about the coin you want to be made, and we'll do it for you.
Just provide us with your personal details, the size and shape of the coin, how many coins you'll need, and the style, plating, and artwork for the coin. If you don't know exactly what you want to do, our customer service team can help you figure out how to make the perfect challenge coin(s) for your loved ones.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Challenge Coin?
Having a challenge coin is a special honor that is reserved for someone who's achieved something remarkable. They're the perfect gift to honor someone's military service, but they're just as good for a birthday, graduation, or retirement.
When you present someone with a challenge coin, you're telling them that you're proud of what they've accomplished. As a challenge coin holder, they'll always be able to look back on their achievements with pride and remember the people that they've positively affected over the years.
Order Your Challenge Coins Today
Now that we've taught you a bit about challenge coins, next time someone asks you, "what are challenge coins?", you'll be able to tell them. If you'd like to order some custom challenge coins, get a price quote on our website today. We try to make the process as easy as possible and we've even got some instructional videos to help guide you along.There's no gift quite like a custom challenge coin. Order yours ASAP!