The culture of military challenge coins dates back to the First World War when an American pilot was shot and forced to make an emergency landing in Germany. When he later escaped the torture chambers after a British attack, the French were on his heels and wanted him executed in the belief that he was a foe. To prove the contrary, he produced a challenge coin that his lieutenant had issued to him before the failed mission and pleaded with the officer to spare his life. The French officer noted the American symbols struck on the coin and saved the soldier's life and released him.

What are military challenge coins?

With a loose understanding of the legend from World War I, one can safely say that military challenge coins are a form of ad hoc identification for military personnel. They are signs of loyalty to the army, representing the 'belongs to' relationship for the various military ranks in the US military ranks.


Army challenge coin

In modern society, military challenge coins are not just an indicator of belonging or loyalty to an army. They have since evolved and can be presented to people both in service and civilians, as a sign of honor, respect, or welcome. Agencies and political offices have since started minting challenge coins to present to visiting dignitaries. A good example is Obama and the Trump administrations, both of which gave specially-designed challenge coins to white house guests and international diplomats.

What are military challenge coins? Military challenge coins evolved alongside fashion and technology from simple hand-crafted designs to the now modern and intricate designs, some of which allow holders to affix memorable images to the coins. Other modern military challenge coins include 3-D images and specialty edging.

All servicemen have the chance to bag several of the available military challenge coins from training graduation, merited promotions, and recognition in the service. Retired service members pride themselves by hanging the challenge coins they collected during their years of service in their cabinets. Also, tradition is not limited to the military alone. In recent years almost all first-responder organizations have started minting and awarding specialized challenge coins for achievement and particular recognition purposes.


military challenge coin

A coin check challenge

Today military challenge coins are exchanged and traded within ranks in the military and also within organizations trading with the army. A coin check challenge is a kind of a game with both a challenge and response from coin holders. To initiate a challenge, one has to hold out their coin high in the air and announce through any feasible way that they are starting a coin check. The responder(s) must then similarly hold their coin. The respondent is only allowed a one-step move and an arm-reach to produce their coin. If the respondent (or one of the respondents in case they are several) cannot get their coin–maybe they forgot it– they must buy the challenger a round of drinks. A coin challenge can also be initiated by spinning a coin in the air and letting it fall to the floor, producing a sound. Each of the respondents should then respond by doing the same thing.

If respondents of a coin challenge respond accordingly, the challenger must then buy a round of drinks for all of them. Do not initiate a coin check challenge unless you can afford to buy drinks for all your respondents. If you cannot buy drinks for the whole team, you will be required to return your coin to whoever gave you as this is considered a crime.

Note that there are no exceptions to where and when a coin challenge can be pulled on you. It also applies to coins issued to uniformed personnel as well as private individuals holding coins from the same issuer.

The coin should also be carried with care because accidental coin checks are penalized. Your coin should never fall to the ground or on a table unless you want to initiate a coin check.

As a rule of thumb, you should always have your coin with you and take good care that it doesn't fall unnecessarily. Also, handing your coin to someone else during a coin check means you have given them all rights to the coin. It will be their property henceforth.


Can Civilians have military challenge coins?

We have already abandoned the past where military challenge coins were only meant for men in uniform. Today, everyone can have an army coin either issued from the military or other affiliated organizations, including law enforcement agencies and firefighting companies. Other unrelated organizations have minted and issued military-grade challenge coins to recognize and award outstanding individuals in the cause of their business. Some governors may also issue you with military challenge coins for being an exceptional statesman.


Get your custom challenge coins.

You probably have honorable customers and clients with whom you interact and have a good working relationship. These are excellent recipients of a custom military challenge coin issued by your business. You can also issue custom coins to reward employees’ hard work or to welcome a new customer to your business or for advertisement purposes.

We can help you get a custom coin for your business or organization in a few easy steps. You only need to reach us through our website to get a free quote.

How should I give out custom coins?

There are no major differences as to how military coins are issued and how custom coins should be issued. And you do not need a ceremony to issue coins. Still, if you hold annual gatherings as an organization, it would be the best time to recognize the different categories of people in the business.

Also, some creativity in the issuing process should make it memorable to remind the recipients of why they have your coin. It is also a general rule that you should explain how your coin will be used to anyone you intend to issue with your custom coins beforehand. So, when the right moment comes along and with the coin in your hand, hold out your hand in a greetings gesture and let the recipient shake it in the typical greetings. You can congratulate them verbally if you recognize their efforts or performance.

Challenge coinsLaw enforcement coinPolice challenge coin

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