There are plenty of people who are completely clueless as to what a challenge coin is. For some, these may seem like simple custom coins but others hold these with more value. Although these are customized to suit the requirements of their owners, they are not simple coins as these have been utilized for decades within the modern day military ranks especially in America and the United Kingdom.
The tradition, which these days have been applied to other arenas, started with the United States Armed Forces. The custom coins served as a symbol of each member’s identity and the unit’s brotherhood. There is a unique set of symbols imprinted on each coin per unit and some even carry engraved mottos that further identified the groups bearing the coins.
Challenge coins are usually presented between the members of the military unit. Some soldiers also trade them with other factions. Through the years, these customized challenge coins served as the essence of military affiliation and instilled a significant sense of pride to the men and women brave enough to be awarded one.
In the military setting, there are plenty of practices and traditions that boost camaraderie within troops, but there are only a limited few that carry the same respect as that of carrying a challenge coin in one’s pocket. For something so small, it is surprising yet extremely interesting to know that a simple token can mean so much to someone and recognize him or her as a formal member of an institution.
These coins are about 2 inches in diameter and a tenth of an inch thick but may come in an assortment of styles and shapes. Pewter, nickel, or copper are the common materials that we at www.ChallengeCoins4Less.com use to fabricate these tokens. We also have clients that vie for gold-plating. These days, a number of these custom coins have found their way into civilian population, but their purpose and significance continue to remain a mystery to those outside of the armed forces.
Plenty of stories surround challenge coins, but their historical roots can be dated back to about a hundred years. The most popular origin story involves an American fighter pilot. As the legend goes, this pilot was shot down during the First World War forcing him to land in uncharted German territory. He was captured and held in a detention cell, which was later infiltrated by the British troops, enabling him to make a daring escape eventually.
Without most of his personal belongings, he was again detained by foreign forces, this time the French who mistakenly thought that he was a German, a mistake that almost cost him his life. It was a stroke of luck that he had his challenge coin in his pocket at the time. He presented it to the French officer as proof of his nationality. Seeing the American insignia on the coin, the officer was prompted to validate his identity buying him time and saving him from death.
These days, these custom coins are not only representations of military personnel, but are also marks of various government agency members. It has also become customary to present challenge coins to dignitaries from Presidents to other diplomats and White House guests. The tradition has also been embraced by other countries like Australia and Canada.
Aside from the adoption of other countries and non-military organizations, these custom coins have also evolved in terms of design. What once started as a distinctly metal-colored token can now be made in an assortment of colors. Depending on the purpose, these can also be fabricated out of other materials like hard plastic that are not only cheaper but lightweight as well.
The evolution of technology has also made it simpler and faster to create tokens as challenge coins were once made by hand. More modern coin varieties even utilize 3D and image insertion technology to make the coins standout even more.
We can also craft these to carry an assortment of images and text.
The history of challenge coins are rather extensive and their story continues to evolve over time. Throughout the career of each member of the armed forces, he or she will receive a significant number of these coins starting at cadet graduation.
Every significant milestone of their service experience will almost always come with a coin to recognize their participation and sacrifice. Even when they retire, they will receive a coin or two as a special thanks for their service.
There is no mistaking it, challenge coins do have their place in military organizations across the globe. This being said, only the respected individuals who hold these coins and know their intrinsic value will truly and fully understand the depth of these coins. Only those who have served and sacrificed will know their true meaning and significance.
Challlengecoins4less.com provides custom coins for military personnel and also various govt organizations. It’s available in various custom designs.