During the early days, challenge coins were not used by civilians and other non-military organizations. They were mostly given to members of certain military squadron. The coins were useful in establishing their identity and their membership. Challenge coins usually carried the symbol of a specific military unit. Moreover, their shape is not limited to spherical. Some custom challenge coins have different shapes like pentagon, arrow head and shields.
Challenge coins are not only decorative accessories. In fact, an American soldier escaped certain death when the French military accused him of spying for the enemies. The American soldier could not prove his identity because he lost all his belongings during the raid. However, he had with him his bronze medallion that was given by his commander. The challenge coin was easily recognized by the French military; thus, he was immediately released.
Challenge coins have a colorful history. American soldiers started a tradition of “challenging”. A challenger would need to show his unique medallion and would ask other soldiers to show theirs. The soldier who could not present his medallion would have to buy beer for the challenger and all the soldiers who have their medallion; thus, the name challenge coin was invented.
Times have changed. Nowadays, custom challenge coins are no longer limited to military and police forces. Anyone who would like to have his own challenge coin could have one for his group or organization. In fact, many companies and organizations give out custom challenge coins to their members as an ID. Some people use it as “business cards”. They would exchange challenge coins during social functions. Some groups use challenge coins as a gift or token.
Challenge Coins for the Government
Challenge coins are usually given to members of the government sector. White House staff, Secret Service agents and President’s personal valets have their own challenge coins. These coins are usually round in shape with the insignia of the specific government sector. Some challenge coins incorporate a different shape. The White House Military Aides are given challenge coins in the shape of a football.
Challenge Coins for Corporate Purposes
Many corporate organizations give custom challenge coins to their employees, usually in the management level. Some companies use this coin to identify their high ranking employees. It is used as some sort of “exclusive club membership” where only the best and brightest employees can take part.
Other organizations use challenge coins as a gift or a token of recognition for exemplary performance. Some companies give challenge coins to their employees as a recognition for the years of their service in the firm.
Challenge Coins for Clubs and Social Groups
Challenge coins are also used by informal clubs and social groups. They usually provide their members with these coins as an ID or proof of membership. These clubs usually incorporate less formal and even quirky designs for their challenge coins.
Challenge Coins for Collectors
Sometimes, you do not need to be a member of any military, government or corporate organization to have your own challenge coins. There are many online companies who create custom challenge coins; thus, it is very ideal for challenge coins collectors. They do not need to gain membership from specific organization. They can simply order their own customized coins. They can incorporate designs and shapes based on their specifications.
Challenge coin is for everyone. It is no longer limited to military and police personnel. If you want to have challenge coins for your company or you simply want to collect them, then there are dozens of online companies that can customize a coin for you. Indeed, challenge coin is for everyone.