Challenge coinshave become an insignia for unity and morale for any organization within and outside the government. They also make for good history and art collectibles with their 3-D designs and glossy finishes.
But why is it called a challenge coin?
Stories in World War I
These coins have been deep-rooted in military tradition among the US Armed Services. But with the hundreds of war stories involving these coins, it’s no wonder why most believe they originated during World War I. Whether or not challenge coins did spring from this period, one thing is clear: they dramatically changed the way soldiers looked out for each other.
Out of all the documented tales, the most popular one is that of an American pilot who crashed into and escaped from German troops. After his escape, he walked for miles and miles until he came into a French town. Hadn’t he shown his medallion to French troops to prove that he was an ally, and not a spy, he would’ve died.
Another popular challenge coin story took place in the Vietnam War.
Buying Drinks with Bullets
In order to let off steam from the dangers and predictable outcomes of battle, bars in Vietnam became a sanctuary for soldiers. Letters were written and drinks drowned every man’s despair. This was a time when the troops lost hope of ever seeing their loved ones again. So to spice things up a little bit and forget a lot, a small group of elite front-line fighters gathered at one table and thought of a game. Each fumbled to find an engraved bullet in their belongings. These bullets were kept in pouches for easier access to loading a gun magazine in case an enemy tries to capture a soldier. Every manshowed his bullet to one another and set it on the table-except for one. The unfortunate one who couldn’t take one out payed for the entire round of drinks his comrades had that night.
Soon, other soldiers caught on with this fun challenge and started collecting more bullets. The more this bullet challenge grew, the more dangerous it got. Higher officials saw this phenomenon and realized the risks if this bullet challenge went out of control. So they came up with a safer alternative: military challenge coins. Each one had the unit’s symbol along with a special code and the soldier’s name.
It was a fair trade and the fun continued. Eventually, it became a favorite tradition.
How to Play the Coin Challenge
When a comrade challenges another to present his coin, it goes two ways: if the one given the challenge is unable to present the coin, he treats the challenger with a drink. But if he does, the challenger buys a drink for him instead. If there are more than two people, the losing side has to buy drinks for all who’s present.
Which is why it’s easier to do this with only 2 people.
Of course,challenge coinsaren’t just limited to the military. Until now, this is still a favorite challenge among soldiers, policemen, fire fighters and businessmen. This has strengthened bonds among each and every member, old and new.
Custom Challenge Coins
We take pride in being part of this tradition. Our company has supplied custom designed coins for every branch in the US Armed Servicesas well as some police and fire fight stations across the country. We also provide coins for any business companies as they can also be great gifts to loyal customers.
Choose from a wide variety of shapes, colors, metal, finishes and packaging. Our custom coins are perfect for collectors as well. Whether it’s recreating old coins or designing new ones, we provide what every client requests.
We also have extra options to add to our custom coins, including diamond-cut edges and epoxy dome coating. Diamond cutting is a process that helps the edges reflect light, adding more shine to the coin. An epoxy dome coating is the clear, bubble-like layer that surrounds one or both sides of the coin. The coating is recommended to add shine and highlight the coin’s intricate features and colors, but may turn yellow after prolonged exposure to light.