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

What's a Challenge Coin?

Share this post with your friends

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

Awarding a Challenge Coin

Ready to Make Your Own Coin?

Get A Free Proof & Quote Today with Free Artwork & Unlimited Revisions!

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.

Some Helpful Articles to Get You Started

Your Custom Challenge Coin CTA

What Will Your Coin Look Like?

Get Your Free Proof & Quote Today!
Free Artwork & Unlimited Revisions!


J and jarren
J and jarren
10 November 2023
My class spent well over $9,000 on our class coins. First issue, they didn't get them to us in a timely manner. We received them barely in time for graduation. Second, they sent us coins with a misspelled word (brave) as seen in the picture. Third issue, a lot of the spinners came broken, also as seen in the picture. When I reached out to the company, they claim sending replacement coins out at a later date is rectifying of this situation. Very empathetic to the situation at hand overall. Not very professional at all, terrible business practices and they definitely will not receive future business from me nor any recommendations either. Zero stars
M. Wong
M. Wong
27 October 2023
I found this company last year after a recommendation from a friend and I've ordered several times now. What keeps me coming back is the high level of customer service and responsiveness in the projects that have been created. The work product is also great and the quality of the coins, detail and just overall, I am very pleased with. This is my GO TO shop now for coins. Please check them out, you will not be disappointed! PS. Big shout to Corbin for his amazing guest service!
Stephen Ryan
Stephen Ryan
25 October 2023
This company is fantastic! I reached out to them to create a custom shaped coin with custom artwork that they had put together for me. The coins are a Veteran's Day thank you token for those who served at our company. We will definitely be returning for future orders. From start to finish, they were very open with communication, extremely fast to respond to concerns and questions, and lastly delivered something that blew us out of the water. Thank you so much!
Alejandra O'Connor
Alejandra O'Connor
25 October 2023
I ordered challenge coins on behalf of my government agency. Lone Star was easy to work with and did amazing things with the graphics I sent. They turned the artwork around quickly and each time it was better than what we had hoped for. We did have several back and forth messages to get the coin exactly as we wanted it. Our representative was so patient with us and had excellent customer service. We also got the coins in the mail quickly. Working with Lone Star was a wonderful experience end-to-end.
Italy Mair
Italy Mair
18 October 2023
Great service, great communication, and great products! Would definitely recommend them.
Rafael Moronta
Rafael Moronta
13 October 2023
Amazing artwork.. aside from the product what I loved most of our experience was the flexibility to create a coin that’s exceeds your own expectations. Thank you guys so much for making the process seamless and affordable!
5 October 2023
Absolutely fantastic company to work with. Communication was always quick, and the final product looked even better than the proof did. 10/10 would recommend!
26 September 2023
I engaged with Lone star challenge coins to make coins for my fiancé's celebration of life. I was pretty clueless about design, and they provided the perfect design. The coins arrived in time, and we were more than satisfied with the outcome. Their customer service was excellent as well. They guided me (held my hand) throughout the process, and were quick to respond. I cannot say enough about their product and company.
Debbie Avinger
Debbie Avinger
26 September 2023
We are so grateful for the work Lone Star Challenge Coins did for our nonprofit fundraising event! They worked with our budget and gave us medals with ribbons and challenge coins that were better than we expected.
Dan Kiser
Dan Kiser
22 September 2023
Corbin was very combative when I explained that the design provided was not at all reflective of the requests that I provided on the Inquiry form. Based on the customer service alone during that 1 phone call, I am not inclined to pursue any business with this company. EDIT: I spoke to the owner, Mike, and he helped rectify the situation and framed it as a learning opportunity for his team. This is a good reminder that people make mistakes but first impressions matter.
Trusted By :







Need Some Help? We Got Your Six!

Veteran Managed &
100% Texas-Based Staff!

Lonestar Challenge Coins Contact Header - Private Frank