Challenge Coins Tradition

Challenge Coins: A Tradition That Keeps Expanding

Challenge coins began as a military tradition, but in recent years have moved into the civilian world as well. The challenge coin is a symbol of a particular unit or organization, one that an individual carries on his or her person at all times.

Popular legend has it that the challenge coin originated in the U.S. Army in World War I, when a wealthy soldier had coins struck for the men in his unit. When an Air Service pilot was shot down behind enemy lines, he escaped, but had no identification on him. Captured by the French, he was able to produce the coin his friend had given him, thereby proving he was an ally and preventing the French from executing him as an enemy combatant. This story is believed to be apocryphal, but it makes for a good drinking story, so it remains popular.

Challenge coins are common in the military, with each unit or division having its own custom design. From their beginnings in the military, challenge coins have entered the realm of other military-structured organization such as police and fire departments. The coins represent a fraternal bond among members of such organizations.

Traditionally, a challenge coin holder can issue a challenge at any time, anywhere. The challenge can be verbal or by slapping a challenge coin down on a table or bar. Those present must present the same challenge coin for their unit immediately. Those who cannot must buy the next round of drinks. If everyone produces their coin, the challenger must buy.

Challenge coins can be made in a variety of metals, including gold, silver, copper, black nickel or bronze. They are die-struck and can be color filled if desired. The coins can be sequentially numbered if desired, and can even be made in 3-D or cutout designs. Other options include glow-in-the-dark enamel, a visual antiquing effect and duo-tone metal.

And challenge coins need not be round. They can, in fact, be any shape desired. However, because size measurement is done across the widest area of the coin, the standard round shape will generally offer the largest area for a given price.

Challenge coins aren't just for the military any more. Their unique attraction can appeal to many organizations, businesses and other groups. is dedicated to providing the finest quality challenge coins at the best prices available anywhere. For more information, email us at [email protected], or call toll free at (877) 870-4946.

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