Custom Challenge Coins

In different branches of the military, it’s custom to award challenge coins for many different reasons. From fire and police academies to athletic associations and more, challenge coins have a sentimental value that is much higher than the actual cost. Request a quote from our team today to experience the value for yourself.

custom challenge coins

Challenge Coin Company

The Monterey Company has been a challenge coin maker and industry leader with the armed forces, police, and fire academy coins for nearly thirty years. We combine our years of experience, skilled team of designers, and the best equipment and materials to create quality, professional products that you can’t find anywhere else. Like all of our products, our custom challenge coins can be made with many different materials and styles so that your coin is exactly what you imagined.

Quality Military Coin Designs

Work with our team of artists to begin your custom coin design. When you send us your artwork or use an existing logo, we will send you a free proof made to your exact specifications. Based on our experience, our team is there to walk you through the entire process and make recommendations to bring your design to life.

coin with eagle
custom iraqi freedom coin

What does it mean to get one?

Challenge coins are usually given as an award for an honorable act or a job well done. Once they’ve been given out, they are supposed to be carried at all times to show membership or allegiance to the organization that created the coin. Challenge coins are quickly growing in popularity with businesses, fraternities, clubs, and other organizations.

Usually, challenge coins are small and ornate medallions or tokens. They are decorated with the insignia or logo of the organization that designed them, and they are then gifted to members when they join to promote camaraderie and boost morale. The coins are also used to mark special occasions and to build a bond in different communities. Challenge coins have existed for many years, but the tradition has evolved and they’ve recently become more popular.

At the Monterey Company, we offer free design proofs for your challenge coins—all we need to get started is your idea. We’ve worked with every branch of the armed forces, like police, firefighters, Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, so we have the extensive experience needed to help you develop your design.

These medals commemorate the achievement and special events, encourage camaraderie, and promote the togetherness within their respective communities. And although they have been around for many years, they have evolved in recent years, taking on nuanced social relevance, turning them into what they are today.

defender of freedom coin
customized scythe coin
duty officer coin
back cross emblem coin

We offer free design proofs. All we need is your insignia and any design ideas you may have. We receive new and repeat orders for challenge coins from every branch of the armed forces including orders for police, firefighters, navy, army, air force, and marine corps.

Designing Military Challenge Coins

Once you’ve reviewed and approved your free design proof, we’ll create the mold we need to produce your die-struck coin. Once the mold is made, we will make and send you a sample of your design to make sure it’s exactly what you wanted. From there, we will begin production for your full order. The process usually takes between two and three weeks, but the time varies based on the size, materials, and design of your custom challenge coin.

When you’re creating your coin, there are many ways you can customize the design and we offer many different colors and plating options so your design will be totally unique. First, choose from bronze or copper for your base metal. This decision will affect the weight, cost, and feel of your final design. Then, you can choose if you’d like enamel finish on your design. We have a wide range of colors, from forest green to fire engine red, so we can match any color scheme or logo—the options are endless.

dog tag shaped coin Iraqi freedom

Personalized For The Armed Forces

The armed forces and law enforcement have been using challenge coins for years. In the military, they award them for things that deserve special recognition. Companies, on the other hand, use them to boost morale or to mark special events. Shapes for challenge coins can range from traditional styles like circular or rectangular, to more specialized shapes like bottle openers or dog tags.

hand holding a scull coin

Challenge Coin Maker

With our years of experience, we have worked with countless companies to develop their custom challenge coins. We also know that every design is different—that’s why we have every type of finish you may need for your design. We have antique, glossy, or epoxy finishes and textured designs for base metals and edges. Because we have so many options, we encourage you to work with our team when creating your design. They know the best styles, materials, and combinations to use to give you the best final product. We’re proud to make the process simple.

Our process makes it easy for our customers to order

You can create your custom design from scratch or add tweaks to one of our existing designs. Our experienced staff can enhance or modify your design as needed to make sure that your artwork is perfectly suited for the production process.

Once you’ve approved the design, we’ll create the mold. The coins are die-struck on both sides at the same time. Then, they are electroplated, sandblasted, and polished to complete the coin. Then it takes about two and three weeks for the production process and shipping before you get your final design. If you need your order sooner, let our team know and we will try our best to accommodate a rush order for custom coins.

Need More Information?

Request a quote or speak to your dedicated Account Manager.

custom challenge coins on a bar

What Are Used For?

Challenge coins are used to:

Challenge coins are carried by members of the military, police, and fire department to show their membership. The coins are made as a reward for challenges or to enhance the morale of team members. They’re also highly coveted among members of the military.

  • To commemorate a mission or to celebrate a milestone.
  • To build camaraderie in a troop.
  • To create a collectible commemorative award.

Honoring Achievements For Nearly 100 years

Challenge coins have been given out since the first World War. During that time, air warfare was very new, and air squadrons were made up of men from many different walks of life—not just the working class. During this time, challenge coins were created and began to pick up in popularity.

Since then, the process for manufacturing challenge coins has changed dramatically. Today, challenge coins can be made and shipped in just days using hard or soft enamel, diamond-cut edges, engraving, or other specialized processes. As a leading custom coin manufacturer, we can also create three-dimensional images, add epoxy, and created double-sided designs for your design. We’re proud to have worked with every branch of the armed forces to create their custom challenge coins.

Government organizations and special interest groups also use challenge coins to commemorate holidays and occasions like Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, graduations, accomplishments, and more. During the Vietnam War, the tradition of giving out challenge coins grew as more members of the special forces were rewarded for acts of honor. They become even more popular during the Persian Gulf War in 1990, and President Bill Clinton was given challenge coins as a symbol of respect. He kept his growing collection on display in the Oval Office and, because of the added attention, the popularity of challenge coins skyrocketed. President Clinton’s historic collection is now on display at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Soft and Hard Enamel

3D challenge coin with engraving
coin with two elk
horses on commander coin

What does it mean to be given a challenge coin?

Challenge coins became a tradition by accident. As the story goes, a rich lieutenant had a coin created for his squadron as a memento of their service together during World War I. One of the soldiers, who had never owned anything valuable before, became so attached to the challenge coin that he began wearing it in a pouch around his neck for safekeeping. The same soldier was later captured behind enemy lines and was taken captive by the Germans. As the war neared its end and the French took over the German camp, the soldier used his challenge coin to identify himself as an ally—and it saved his life. This one small act began the tradition of carrying your squadron metal for identification, and today the tradition has evolved to be broader. Now, the coins are used to represent rewards and recognition.

Challenge coins are often used for achievements that don’t meet the official standards for merit-based metals, like the Medal of Honor. When the coins are awarded, they are often passed through a handshake from the awarder to the awardee. During this exchange, it’s customary for the person gifting the coin to explain the reasons why the recipient is worthy of this symbolic award.

In addition to the widespread use across branches of the military, the use of challenge coins is also increasing among organizations like NASCAR, the NFL, university fraternities, law enforcement, and Eagle Scouts, as the tradition of gifting coins grows.

canadian International rescue coin
custom shaped military challenge coin

At the Monterey Company, we are known for our top-notch quality and artistry when we create our coins, and we’re proud to be part of this growing trend that is even starting to cross international borders. Canadian Forces have begun handing out challenge coins to new officers graduating from the Royal Military College. Other countries, like Switzerland, have also begun creating their own custom coin designs.

For each project, we offer low minimum quantities and fast production times and shipping so that all of our customers can get their designs on time and in the budget. Work with our talented team to get started on your design today.

 

Custom Military Coins

At the Monterey Company, we can create your custom challenge coin in any shape, size, or color—and we can even make three-dimensional designs to really bring them to life. We will work together to manufacture coins for your squadron, unit, or batallalion to mark any occasion. Commemorate an event or tour, build camaraderie, or create a piece of collectible art so you and your organization can feel even more connected.

The U.S. Navy, Air Force, Marines, Army, and Coast Guard have been ordering products from us for many years. We’ve also created designs for EMS, fire, and police departments from across the country and abroad. Used to boost morale, promote excellence, and give rewards, challenge coins are always treasured by those who receive them.

air force military Coins

Air Force

Air Force challenge coins usually feature the icon of a specific squadron. Based on the tradition, members of that squadron carry the coin to prove their membership if needed. We can help you create a unique coin with your squadron’s artwork or with impressive three-dimensional detailing. All you need to get started is a photograph of the aircraft you want to feature, and our artists can bring it to life. If you need inspiration for your challenge coin design, check out our gallery for examples of our past work.

custom made 67th signal coins

Army

Army coins showcase the insignia or emblem of a squadron or unit of the U.S. Army. The significance of challenge coins dates back to a legend from World War I that created such a strong tradition, that a century later, military members still carry their coins with them every day.

custom designed navy coins

Navy

Navy members or Navy Seals can memorialize their vessel or unit with a unique design and custom-crafted challenge coin. The small token can also feature mottos, emblems, or insignia to remind you of your company, your service, and your Navy experience.

national guard coins with red flag and star

National Guard

Our National Guard challenge coins can be made with either color or epoxy finish, and we have been developing their designs for decades. We take great pride in providing a high-quality service to those who have dedicated their lives to serving our country.

Coast Guard

We have been making a design for the Coast Guard for nearly 30 years and make sure to offer only the highest quality products along with our knowledgeable and friendly team.

Marine Corps

When you want to recognize a member of the United States Marine Corps, a challenge coin is a great way to do it. Spread the Marine Corps’ message of pride and honor through a beautiful and well-crafted piece that will be treasured forever.

Our designs made for the Marines are only the highest quality. We work hard to maintain our standards because we know that top-tier quality is the only way to honor your service and achievements.

Challenge Coin History

hands holding coins

Challenge coins let members of different organizations have a special medallion that shows their affiliation. This special medallion should be kept with you at all times, so you can always prove that you are a member if needed. This tradition began in World War I when an American pilot was saved because he was wearing his squadron’s metal around his neck. The American soldier was captured by German soldiers and stripped of his formal identification. He was then moved to a small French town where he escaped from his German captors. Without his formal identification, he was still able to show his affiliation with the American troops because of the coin hanging around his neck.

To honor the significance of this life-saving medallion, people who receive these coins can “challenge” any of their fellow service members to produce their own coins randomly. If any members of the squadron or team don’t have their coin, they fail the “challenge,” and are responsible for buying a round of drinks for everyone else. If the challenge is met and the member has their coin, the challenger must buy a round of drinks. This is a fun and modern tradition to honor the history of wearing your organization’s emblem with pride—and also shows that membership in the group becomes a part of who you are.

If any members of the squadron or team are unable to produce their coin, therefore failing the “challenge,” they are responsible for buying a round of drinks for everyone appropriately carrying their medallions on their person. If the challenge is met, however, and everyone within the group is able to produce their metal symbol of honor, the challenger, or the person who initially bore his medallion, must buy a round of drinks for his counterparts. This is a fun way to honor the history of wearing organizational affiliation with pride, because one’s membership within their group, as demonstrated by carrying them, is woven into the fabric of one’s identity.

Start Today with Your Free Proof

Get started designing your own challenge coin today. Send us your sketch and work with our team of designers to bring your vision to life. From there, we will create a proof of your design for your review and approval. You can also make changes to your art at any time—at no additional cost—and we can make suggestions on how to add epoxy, vibrant colors, and three-dimensional design details, and more to enhance your final product. As a company that specializes in challenge coins, we are able to take your ideas and transform them into quality coins you will be proud to hand out.

With our years of experience and our team’s expertise, we’ve made the whole design process easier than ever before. We understand your needs and know the best approach and techniques to bring your vision to life. Our process can be broken down into three simple steps.

  • Artwork & Design: Start with your custom design. Use your organization’s logo or a special piece of artwork to represent your shared bond.
  • Digital Proof: Once you’ve decided on your final design, we will share with you a digital proof. You can make updates and revisions as you see fit to make sure it’s exactly what you’re looking for.
  • Production and Shipping: Once you’ve approved your design and seen a sample, we will the production process for your customized order, and ship it right to you.

We’ve been creating challenge coins since 1989. Over the years, we’ve refined our skills and our process to make sure you have the best possible experience. Our high-quality materials and talented team of artists will bring your customized design to life. Reach out to our team today to begin the exciting process. Share your artwork and our team will get back to you as soon as possible with a free digital proof to get started.