Quick Guide to Designing Challenge Coins

Police Challenge Coins are a well-respected item among law enforcement and their supporters. Challenge coins that have held a special place in military and law enforcement. Initially, their use was limited to only law enforcement agencies. These coins were used as a commemorative award for outstanding performance or as a memorial award in honor of officers' superior services. But for a long time now, the use of these challenge coins has become common in American society at all government, private, and public levels.

If you are into collecting police challenge coins, you may have wondered how these coins are designed. From an idea to reality, a challenge coin goes into many phases before becoming part of your collection. Different designs, slogans, symbols, and quotes are engraved on one or both sides of the coin to represent an organization or a distinguished personality. In this article, we will discuss the fundamental factors and techniques that make a coin a perfect challenge coin for its keeper. These factors include shaping, sizing, plating, and edging. A masterful combination of all these things creates an ideal challenge coin.

Various Shapes for Challenge Coins

Usually, these coins are available in round or circle shape, but they are also made in various other shapes. It means that you can have your coin designed in a traditional round coin shape, an all-time favorite shape. If you want to adopt something unique, you can opt for other shapes for your challenge coins, such as square, rectangle, triangle, pentagon, oval, etc. The shape of the coins certainly attracts people's attention. Shapes may also give challenge coins some unique meanings. For example, the honorary coins used in the military are mostly designed in the shield and round shape. Similarly, irregular and square-shaped coins are used for engraving special symbols and logos of organizations and corporations. So, it is vital to choose the shape wisely to make sure it aligns with having a challenge coin.

Various Sizes Available for Challenge Coins

The average standard diameter of a challenge coin is usually about 1.75 to 2 inches. That does not mean that this standard size will meet the need of all individuals. That's why challenge coins are also available in various more substantial and smaller sizes than this standard size. Challenge coins smaller than 1.75 in diameter are rarely used because they add to the complexity of artistic work on small-sized coins. In the comparison of small coins, the use of large-sized challenge coins is more common and widespread. Commander's commemorative coins and bottle opener challenge coins are 2 inches in diameter. If you are looking for challenge coins to use as a decorative item at home or in the office, a large-sized coin would be best for this purpose. In that case, you can choose the size of the coin according to your choice and need.

What Plating Choices Are There to Design Challenge Coins?

Considering the design and purpose of the coin, choosing the right plating is essential. The look of the coin entirely depends on the plating of the coin. Different high-quality polish and antique plating processes also determine the glittering or dull looks of the coin. Plating is selected based on the type of metal. Metals that make a right candidate for coin plating include gold, brass, silver, bronze, copper, black nickel, antique copper, antique gold, antique nickel, antique silver, antique brass, etc. Silver and nickel plating are used in air-force and Naval honorary coins. While Brass plating is used to make the marines and army commemorative coins. To highlight the coin design more, a black nickel is used. With all these essentials in mind, you can easily choose the right plating for your coin.

Edging of the coins

Various types of edges can be used for police challenge coins. Each edge design has separate attractive features and techniques which make them unique in their way and enhance the charm of the coin. The edges of different designs are usually arranged according to the identity of the coin. There are more than six types of edges that are the best for all kinds of challenge coins. Let us shed some light on these six popular types of edge designs to understand them better.

1- Standard edge design: This design is also known as flat edge design. It is a flat and smooth edge design. It does not have any crafts on the edge of the coin. It is very simple and sophisticated.

2- Rope edge design: As the name suggests, it is a rope-like design made on the edges of the coin. Rope design is widely used in navy honored coins.

3- Crosscut edge or diamond lines edge design: It is also called diamond cut edge design. It is a diamond carving design that gives the edge of the coin a lovely and luxurious look. The diamond-cut design makes the coin shine like a diamond and makes everything engraved on the coin attractive. This crosscut design is commonly used on commemorative coins dedicated to commanders and flag officers.

4- Spur edge design: This design is made in such a way that the metal is lifted from the base and then bent upwards to form a semicircle, then clear cut marks are made. Spur edge design is not very popular and rarely used, but if you want a three-dimensional surfaced coin, this spur edge design is perfect for it.

5- Oblique line edge design: In this design, multiple curved lines are drawn on the border of the coin. Then these drawn lines are polished. These lines highlight the text and image in the center of the coin and illustrate the motion of the rotation around the engraved image. This design can be made on one side of the coin or both sides.

6- Bezel edge design: This design consists of many long straight waves that go from low to high at the edge of the challenge coin. In this sequence of lines, each line throwback a ray of light, which creates the ultimate beauty. This sparkler design is mostly used in exclusive gold plating coins.

Sandblasting technique

The process of sandblasting clarifies the small objects in the background of the coin and the metaphors and text engraved on it. From which the carving engraved on the coin can be understood correctly.

Designing a coin is an artistic task that is not so simple. It is very subtle and full of intricacies. Now that you are familiar with different techniques and design stages of the challenge coin, you can choose the best design for your coins.

Our talented designers have crafted beautiful police challenge coins for state troopers and their supporters. Click here to see our collection.

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