What’s a Challenge Coin? Who uses them, and why?

What's a Challenge Coin?

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Have you ever wondered, wow, this is one excellent-looking Challenge Coin, but what’s the point of it? Military, Law Enforcement, and Fire Departments have traditionally used challenge coins to represent their chosen branch or department. It is a source of pride and a token they can have with them for life to remember a group of individuals they have done with. Challenge coins also offer significance in many other areas, such as honoring an individual for a remarkable achievement or recognizing a special event; they are also used to help boost a group’s morale.

Challenge Coin Check!

Within the Military Challenge, coins are often used as a game commonly known as the “Challenge Coin Check.”  When someone in a Military branch walks into their local watering hole, a service member may take out their coin to challenge one or a group of Military buddies.  Whoever cannot produce their Challenge Coin gets to buy a round of drinks for the entire group. 

A Brief History of Custom Coins…

Challenge coins have a long and storied history that can be traced back to Ancient Rome.  Soldiers during Roman times had custom coins specially made for them and rewarded them for their acts of bravery on the battlefield.  Rumor has it that the coins were custom-made for the soldier’s legion, encouraging the soldier to keep them instead of spending them. 

Ancient Roman Coins
WWII USAF Challenge Coin

The first modern-day use of custom challenge coins can be traced back to WWI, where the well-off (rich) officers would make bronze medals with their flying squadron insignia.  They did this as a source of pride and recognition for their units. Today, many commanders in all branches of our Armed Forces use custom-made challenge coins as a source of recognition.  In 2011, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates shook hands with troops serving in Afghanistan, and with each handshake, he passed each soldier a coin he had specially made by the Secretary of Defense himself.

Who is using Challenge Coins today?

Today, coins are used by much more than just our Armed forces.  They are used by Law Enforcement agencies, DEA, FBI, Fire Departments, Fortune 500 Companies, politicians, and even US Presidents.  Since the Bill Clinton Administration, each sitting President has had their own coin made, one for the public and a unique one for the President to hand out.  Most Presidents use the coins for Military Personnel, Foreign Dignitaries, and special occasions.  President George W. Bush saved his for injured soldiers returning home from the Middle East War. 

Bill Clinton's Challenge Coin Collection
Veteran Appreciation Challenge Coin

Corporate Challenge Coins

We have a lot of customers from the Corporate world who contact us to make a custom challenge coin for their business!  We have had high-end restaurants, chain outlets, and even small mom-and-pop shops request us to make coins for them.  Our corporate coins typically have the company’s logo on one side, with a slogan or message on the other.  They have also been used to recognize their years of service to thank their staff for their years of loyalty. 

First Responder Coins

First responder challenge coins hold a special place in the hearts of those who serve on the front lines of emergency situations. They carry the weight of countless shared experiences, triumphs, and even hardships, serving as a tangible reminder of the sacrifices made by those who put their lives on the line every day. First responders often exchanged these coins as tokens of gratitude and respect. They are a source of motivation, fostering a sense of unity among those who wear them proudly. In a world where bravery is a constant requirement, first responder challenge coins stand as timeless symbols of valor and unwavering commitment. For this reason, we love working with our first responders, helping them create custom challenge coins they can be proud of.

First Responder Coins

Making your own Custom Challenge Coins

Getting a custom challenge coin made is a way to tell your story and a way to pass that story on for generations to come.  It tells people about who made the coin and why they made the coin.  It’s a tradition of excellence, and coins are now highly sought after by collectors on eBay and Facebook.  Our coins are designed with our customers’ needs in mind; they are ideal gifts for colleagues, family, and friends.  If you want Lone Star Challenge coins to help you with your next or first coin design, call or visit the free quote section on our website today!

Awarding a Challenge Coin

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Lone Star Challenge Coins

About Lone Star
Challenge Coins

We continually strive each day to make Lone Star Pins and Challenge coins the industry leader for all your promotional item needs. We do this by creating a customer centric environment. By putting our customers’ needs first, providing them with the industry’s best artwork, customer service and products, and by exceeding all expectations, we hope to create the ultimate customer experience.

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