All About Challenge Coins: 7 Interesting Facts About This Tradition

facts about challenge coins

Ever seen a challenge coin? They’re quite popular collectibles among military veterans.

Challenge coins are also popular gifts. Each coin represents brotherhood among those in the same unit or battalion. Other coins signify a specific accomplishment.

But don’t buy the first coin you see! Before you set off to get one as a gift for someone, let us look and learn all about challenge coins.

1. Origins of the Challenge Coin

As we learn all about challenge coins, let us look at where they originated. Before they became popular gift items, challenge coins came from the military. 

It found use as a means to promote camaraderie among servicemen of various branches. It was also a means to show support.

In this case, each soldier on a specific battalion or mission receives a challenge coin. When a soldier holds his challenge coin up, the rest of the battalion has to raise their coins as well. The last one to hold up their coin had to buy a round of drinks.

There are a lot of accounts behind how far back the challenge coin came to be. Most of these popular stories hail back to as early as World War I.

2. The Challenge Coin’s Inherent Value

The challenge coin holds more than aesthetic value as a gift. 

One thing of note about these challenge coins is that they can hold sentimental value. It reminds the owner of their time serving as soldiers, fulfilling their duty for the country. Giving them a challenge coin is a good way to appreciate a veteran.

Aside from that, it also holds up well with its monetary value. It is an item to die for among collectors and history enthusiasts.

As for production, it was easy for the military to manufacture them. The military primarily used brass and zinc to mass-produce these. Rare challenge coins used solid gold for its composition.

Coins of a higher rarity would fetch a premium when sold to a collector.

3. Challenge Coins Being Rich in History

The other value that a challenge coin holds is in the history it brings with it. For those who love history and military campaigns, a challenge coin stands out as a centerpiece for conversation. It could be a conversation starter.

You can imagine an exchange in the history behind the coin and in the era it hails from. It could work out for an educational and informative conversation.

While challenge coins gained popularity during World War I, there is a possibility they date even beyond that period. There were similar coins during the era of the Roman Empire and the Roman soldiers presented their coins as a sign of achievement.

Giving a coin as old as these means you’re also sharing eons of history to the recipient. It’s like giving someone treasure from the Titanic or a relic of a World War I skirmish.

4. Also Popular Outside the Military

Other fields have challenge coins as pieces to appreciate a person’s service and dedication. 

For instance, consider looking at a commercial business company. You can use challenge coins to celebrate employees who performed with excellence. It also works out as a commemorative trophy for other awards and events.

Due to its affordable production costs, challenge coins work well as commemorative pieces for other occasions. You can custom challenge coins for organizations and social clubs. It also works for family reunions and stag trips.

Aside from this, challenge coins also work well as recruitment tools. When a person receives one, it may signify their acceptance into the inner circle of that organization.

To put this further, even most presidents have challenge coins created and available for the general public.

5. Meanings behind Challenge Coins

Challenge coins stand out in terms of their purpose. The military would use them as proof of your membership to a battalion. It can also be a symbol of loyalty and holds close ties to the elite.

It also stands out as a trophy or award to exemplary performance. We mentioned this earlier about perfect situations to award custom challenge coins to celebrate the hardworking employee. Some organizations would even have challenge coins designed for employees who once served the military.

With the ease of production, you can put custom logos in these challenge coins. This allows for branding when using a corporate logo.

Owning a challenge coin also serves as a symbol of the bonds you share with others possessing the same type.

6. Helpful for Veterans

With the recent advances in healthcare, mental health also comes into the forefront. It is no secret that veterans continue to struggle with mental illness such as depression and PTSD. 

Special challenge coins have come into circulation in recent years. These have a yellow ribbon surrounding outside the coin. In which it stands as a symbol of suicide prevention. 

With these coins, a veteran can show someone they trust this coin. It acts as a sign that they need someone to talk to. This helps veterans get the support they need without dealing with the stigma of asking for help in a direct way.

7. If You Have One, Flaunt It!

In owning a challenge coin, expect opportunities where you can show it. The tradition of showing challenge coins began to show up outside military branches. This practice in question is the one where the last person to show the coin would have to buy everyone drinks.

Be ready to hear the slamming of coins on the table when you go to a bar.

Now You Know All About Challenge Coins

After learning all about challenge coins, you can use this opportunity to give one to those you love. This can be for veterans in your family or among your friends, showing them that you appreciate their service. You can also use them as gifts to celebrate special moments.

Get a challenge coin and be part of a circle of elites.

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