The presidential challenge coin stands out as one of the most unique and highly coveted coins. Although with some differences from regular military challenge coins, many coin collectors and enthusiasts agree that the presidential coin is closely tied to military history. Unlike military challenge coins that can be used for a wide array of reasons, presidential challenge coins are limited because they are issued to honor and recognize the receivers. They may not be the best option to boost morale, although they may raise some receivers' spirits. However, presidential challenge coins have been used to recognize people's performance/achievements from all walks of life. We dug into the history of the presidential challenge coin, and here is what we found.
Did any president ever get a military challenge coin?
It is not like a US president woke up a single day and ordered the design of the presidential challenge coin. Some of the presidents who later released custom presidential challenge coins have interacted with official military challenge coins. This could either be before their election or while in office. Some of the notable of these encounters include a 2016 incident when president-elect, Donald Trump, received a military challenge coin from a vice-admiral. This was a form of a congratulatory message to the president. Another incident involves former president Bush who received a military challenge coin from a marine combat patrol in Iraq. As for this challenge coin, it is perceived to be a thank you note to the president for supporting military operations in the country. While these instances may not be in line with military challenge coins history, it is important to understand they helped create bonds between the military and the commander in chief of the time.
Who was the first president to mint a presidential challenge coin?
Bill Clinton is recognized as the first president to mint a presidential challenge coin. History also has it that Clinton was an avid challenge coins collector, and some of his images, including the portrait in White House, can prove this. For Clinton and other presidents after him, the presidential challenge coin is a way of recognizing patriotism and other national values.
After Clinton, both Donald Trump and his predecessor, Barrack Obama, have produced notable challenge coin designs. Like George W. Bush, Obama is known to have issued the presidential challenge coin to family members of soldiers who died in the battlefront. He is also said to have left the presidential challenge coin on the graves of those solders.
Donald Trump will perhaps be remembered for creating a unique presidential challenge coin. Unlike his predecessors, Trump decided to abandon the tradition, thereby creating a presidential challenge coin without the presidential seal, the arrows standing for the original thirteen colonies. He also did away with the Latin motto that appeared in other presidential challenge coins and instead put his campaign slogan on the face of the coin.
Further, President Trump’s challenge coin is not anywhere close to what other presidents before him had used. From the coin’s thickness to the appearance of his name on the coin, he did a complete overhaul.
How to get the presidential challenge coin
As we have previously mentioned, the presidential challenge coin is highly coveted. However, not every one of us can get the coins from the hands of a sitting US president. But that does not mean you cannot have a presidential challenge coin in your collection. With the knowledge that more people want to have this unique challenge coin, different versions are stocked in the White House gift shop while some versions are distributed through some online stores. While it may not be easy to get the official presidential challenge coin, the alternative versions are recognizable and can also be associated with a particular presidency.
The Vice President’s challenge coin
Though not as popular as the presidential challenge coin, the vice president’s challenge coin does exist. The coin is usually issued by the vice president of the United States in a manner and discretion determined by each one. However, it is widely known that vice presidents have always supported our national values. Joe Biden, when he was Obama’s vice president, came out clearly giving out the vice president’s challenge coin during his tenure.
How are they different from military challenge coins
The presidential challenge coin and the vice president's challenge coin are slightly different from traditional military challenge coins. First, they cannot be issued by anybody else except the designated president or vice president. Second, they are symbols representing the president and the vice president, respectively. This is unlike military challenge coins, which may not have a specific representation at all.
On the other hand, military challenge coins share commonalities with presidential challenge coins. In the first place, presidential challenge coins inherit most of the features from military tradition. Further, like military challenge coins, they are issued in greetings, and not many would know if you received a coin or not. However, sometimes either of these challenge coins may be given out during functions attended by people from various factions.
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