What Are The Standard Challenge Coin Sizes?

7 minute read

Published on: 21 Sep 2021

Last modified on: 18 Mar 2024

Table of Contents

What is a challenge coin? The short answer: a specially designed coin presented to honor that person for special achievement or confirm their membership in a special group or organization. So what challenge coin size do you choose? Read on to learn more!

You may be wondering about what challenge coin sizes are available, what they are made of, and what your selections are when ordering. Read on to learn everything you need to know about this wonderful tradition.

Standard Challenge Coin Sizes  

Challenge coins are larger than coin money you might have in your pocket, but small enough to easily fit into the palm of your hand. Popular sizes are between 1.5” to 1.75”, but they can be larger.

Determining the correct size of the coin depends on the detail you plan to place on your coin. Fine details in your artwork have the highest quality in coins around the 1.75” size.

Your coin does not need to be round, and custom shapes make the coin something very unique to your organization or group. You can create an automobile for a car club, an airplane for a pilot club, or a badge to honor firefighters or law enforcement. Challenge coins are a collectible way of signifying the recipient as a member of a special group.

When you are custom designing your coin, it is important to realize that if the design includes cutouts, the coin will have less surface area. You may need to order a coin a bit larger to capture the look you want.

Choosing a Coin Size  

The style of your challenge coin affects the size of the coin you need. If you are designing your challenge coin as a bottle opener, the recommendation is to go at least 2” in size, and no smaller than 1.75”. You need enough size to provide the necessary leverage for opening the bottle.

When doing a custom-shape, we recommend going larger. This will provide the look you desire. Irregular shapes or cut-outs will cause the coin to have a smaller visual appearance.

Consider the amount of text you want when considering challenge coin sizes. If there is a large amount of text, you will need to increase the size to provide a design look.

Smaller coins are less expensive, allowing you to stretch your budget by producing more coins and a reasonable price. The downfall to a small size is there is not as much space, and you will need to keep the design simple with only one or two main elements. They are ideal for carrying in a pocket.

What are the Standard Challenge Coin Size

Large coins of 2” or larger are ideal for displaying on a shelf or desk. This allows for more intricate designs but is also hard to carry around in a pocket.

In addition to the physical dimensions, you want to also consider the weight of your coin, especially if the recipient is likely to carry it in a pocket. Weight can vary depending on the materials it is made from.

A coin that is 2” will weigh about 1.95 to 2.15 oz, a 1.75” coin will weigh 1.5 to 1.65 oz., and a 1.5” coin will weigh about 1 to 1.1 oz.

Challenge Coin Materials  

Die struck is an ideal method of producing coins that have a lot of details in their design. Your design is transferred onto back and front molds that are struck into the metal, creating the recessed and raised areas of your design. This provides sharp, crisp detail.

Die struck coins are normally struck into brass. If the design is a custom shape or has a large cutout area, it will likely be cast from zinc alloy. The molds are then fit together, and molten zinc is injected into the die to create your coin.

Die casting is a more modern method of creating coins and medallions. Using this process, a cast is made of your design. The liquid metal is then poured into the die, filling all recessed areas and creating your design.

Die casting is a faster process that provides high-quality. The lines and edges are not always as sharp as with the die-struck method. The method you choose will depend on how quickly you need your coins produced and the level of sharp detail you want.

When choosing your finish, soft enamel is textured, and the enamel is filled below the metal ridges. Hard enamel is smooth and polishing the enamel overfill results in a glossy finish against the metal. You have the option of creating a coin with one side in a soft enamel and the other in a hard enamel finish.

Creating Your Design  

Challenge coins are a great way to honor special occasions, organizations, and more. You can find them in special designs for masonic organizations, corporations, firefighter, police, military, and custom designs of all kinds.

There are a variety of choices when custom designing your challenge coin regarding materials and finishes. Whatever your organization, you want a challenge coin that is unique. That is why viewing the Challenge coin gallery to get an idea of what is possible in both custom coins and custom medals.

You can then custom design your coin to suit your needs in shape, design, and color. Popular styles and shapes include a dog tag, bottle opener, photo insert, cut-out, ceramic poker chip, 3-D, and cut to a custom shape.

The Coin’s Purpose  

The practice of carrying challenge coins in the military is a long tradition. That practice has now become popular in the civilian population. Many do not understand their purpose and significance.

  • Membership—Only carried by members of the group, in the military, they prove you are part of a team, unit, or participation in a specific tour of duty
  • Recognition—For going above and beyond in the line of duty, ideal for military, first responders, and in the workplace
  • Bonding—To show a connection with others, to spark memories, form new friendships, veterans frequently hold their coins to display when appropriate
  • Branding—Popular at business conferences, expos, and events, also popular with schools for sports teams and other clubs

Members of the military use their coins to prove their allegiance. Retirees may display them in their offices with their ribbons and uniform patches.

Bill Clinton was the first President to have a challenge coin, and Dick Cheney was the first Vice President to have one. It is now a tradition. The passing of the coin is generally done discreetly, hidden in the palm of the presenter in a handshake.

Challenge Coin Etiquette

There is challenge coin etiquette that says the last person in a social situation to present their coin pays for the next round of drinks. Every group has a set of rules that go with their challenge coins. If you are creating your first coin, you may want to establish a set of fun rules for your group.

Commemorate Your Event  

With a minimum order of only 25 pieces, you can easily meet the needs of your group without breaking the budget. Custom Challenge Coins has a 4.9-star satisfaction rating.

We will work with you to create a custom coin to meet your needs. With custom challenge coin sizes, one-sided and two-sided color options, ceramic challenge coins, custom edging, finishing, and packaging, you won’t be disappointed. Send us your ideas for a custom quote today!


Heather studied business and technology at Texas State University and has been with Custom Challenge Coins for over 4 years and counting. :) When she is not managing the technical sides of Custom Challenge Coins she is writing informational articles and posting cool pictures of our coins. If you would like your coin order that we manufactured to be featured on our website please reach out to sales@customchallengecoins.net

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