When trying to understand the purpose of challenge coins, it’s always a good idea to take a look at their history. They have been an American military tradition for more than 100 years, and present in every branch of law enforcement; such as police departments, firefighters, army, air force, and more.
How did challenge coins get started?
There are several stories about their origin, some dating from The Roman Empire area.
- The most common one relates the origin of challenge coins to an American World War I pilot. Despite the lack of uniform or other visual identification, he managed to prove to French soldiers his affiliation with the American military, with the help of his squadron’s coin.
What do challenges coins symbolize?
When first started, they were used only by members of the military to commemorate and recognize an exceptional act of service or merit, like the medal of honor. They are also made for special military exercises, anniversaries, and events. They are found in all levels of the military, from the smallest units to the top brass. Quite simply, they are some of the most meaningful items a service member or veteran can own.
What else are challenges coins used for today?
Today you can find challenge coins being used by different not-for-profit organizations, volunteer associations, and charities, as a sign of membership.
They are an excellent way to recognize employee’s achievements or to celebrate corporate special occasions, by adding a touch of creativity. They are also perfect gifts for large groups of people, such as a graduating class of students.
You can find some great examples of traditional and modern design by visiting the Monterey Company. One of the leaders in this industry, producing challenge coins for more than 30 years of experience.
Challenge coins are collector’s items
They are plenty of collectors who are always hunting these items. Coins issued to a distinct military unit or for a special historical event can be sold for hundreds of dollars. Of course, for the many collectors, the sentimental value is much greater than their market value.
The ’challenge game’’
Originally “the challenge” started after the Second World War when Americans stationed in Germany began to conduct “pfennig checks.” If you couldn’t generate a pfennig when someone asked to see it, you had to buy the drinks.
This tradition actually lives on today. Service members can “challenge” any of the other members of their branches or academies, by checking if these members are also carrying their coins. The one unable to show the persona coin fails the “challenge,” and is responsible for buying a round of drinks for everyone else who is carrying their coins. It is a fun way to honor the tradition of wearing your organizational affiliation with pride. Challenge coin checks are allowed anytime, so be prepared.
Now you know all about challenge coins, so it’s time to design your own!
Design your own custom challenge coins now, it’s very easy with the right manufacturer company. With the Monterey Company, you can find the perfect fit for your needs. You just need to send them your design and they will create a proof for your review and approval, with all the professional assistance you deserve and at a price you can afford.