Challenge Coins: The Continued Tradition

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Challenge Coins challenge everyone from poker players to presidents to continue this beloved tradition.

We have shared here about the lore and history surrounding Military Challenge Coins. As time passes, Challenge Coins are used for more than the traditional military challenge. Given out for morale, rewards, and awards, today Challenge Coins are given to military and nonmilitary personnel alike.

Government organizations other than the military branches as well as special interest groups have Challenge Coins made to commemorate holidays like Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, membership, graduations, accomplishments and many other significant days. The tradition of giving them out in the military for these reasons increased during the Vietnam War with the Special Forces Units and then spread to others over time. They didn’t become common however until the Persian Gulf war of 1990-1991.

President Bill Clinton received many military service members’ Challenge Coins as a symbol of respect while in office. He kept the growing collection on display on the credenza in the Oval Office. The collection now lives at the Clinton Library. The tradition has continued as both George Bush and President Barak Obama have also received Challenge Coins by military personnel.

Challenge Coins show affiliation and the tradition has now become part of NASCAR, the NFL, and the World Series Of Poker. Police and Fire departments across the country are using them as well.  Monterey Company has become the leading maker of Challenge coins and is known for the superb quality and artistry of the coins made. We are so proud to be part of this growing tradition.

It’s exciting that the tradition is now crossing borders. Canadian Forces are now giving Challenge Coins to new officer cadets that graduate from the Royal Military College. What was once known to them as an ‘Americanism’ is now a growing tradition as well? Other countries, such as Switzerland, are also beginning to pick up the tradition by having different branches of the military create their own coins.

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