The distribution of challenge coins started way back World War 1 when a military unit leader gave these coins to the members of his unit. Those coins served as a form of identity for those soldiers. It became a token of allegiance, too. The coin bore the insignia or special symbols of that particular unit. The members were expected to remain loyal to their group. When they were assigned to other units, they were also given new challenge coins. Most of them kept these as mementos.
Challenge coins during those timeswere also used to “challenge” other members of a particular unit.When a soldier placed down his coin on a table and challenged another soldier, the challenged soldier should bring out his coin and show it to others. If he failed to do so, he would have to pay for the drinks of the challenger and those that have their challenge coin with them. However, if the challenged person were able to show his coin, then the challenger would have to bear the same consequence.
Today, the popularity of custom challenge coins is steadily rising. Nevertheless, they are not used as a form of identity or as a challenge to othersanymore. Most people order challenge coins to use as the following:
1. Recognition. Companies award custom challenge coins to faithful and loyal employees.It is the company’s way of thanking and appreciating the employees for their length of service and stellar performance to the company.
2. Build relationship. Among colleagues or family, having customchallenge coinscan deepen the bonds towards one another. The coins could contain the family’s or the group’s motto or beliefs and remind them of their relationship and responsibility with one another.
3. For practical purposes. Custom challenge coins are given away as gifts or souvenir items. Those who are familiar with challenge coins, such as military personnel or in the fire or police departments, appreciate the value of these coins as gifts.They could alsobe made as a pendant for necklace and bracelet. Some coin designs allow for keychains to be held. Newer designs of these coins are made to be bottle openers.
4. Display.For each challenge coin, there is an attached story. Maybe that first coin is about the war while the second one is the token during their 15th anniversary and so on. They are usually placed on glass shelves or frames where visitors can see them.
5. Family heritage. Custom challenge coins can be passed from one generation to the next.Fortunately, challenge coins are durable and they can actually last for decades, even for a lifetime, when proper care is given to them.They will indeed be a good legacy to hand down to the younger generation, accompanied with the stories that go along with them.
6. Be a collector ofchallenge coins.One can also start a collection of these coins. Some challenge coins can cost a lot.Other people collect challenge coins as their hobby. There are many celebrities and famous government officials who collect challenge coins. Three US presidents have a collection of challenge coins, too. They are former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush. The current president, President Obama is also a collector.
7. Appreciation. Challenge coins were used to show appreciation to soldiers who sacrificed and showed exemplary performance during the battle. However, most of these soldiers werehired mercenaries and were not deemed to be worthy of receiving such tokens. Still, some officials awarded these soldiers with coins albeit secretly. They would shake the hands of the soldiers and transfer the coin to them. Today, these coins are used publicly to appreciate deserving officials and civilians, alike.