Where And How To Get Challenge Coins

October 16, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion that people receive for a variety of reasons.
  • Challenge coins have are most commonly associated with the armed forces.
  • Challenge coins are commonly given out by clubs and other civilian organizations.
  • You can make and buy challenge coins from a challenge coin company like PinProsPlus.
  • You can design your custom coin using any artwork or text that you want.

Challenge coins are great for recognizing personal achievement and showing unity within a particular group, but where and how do people get them?

There are lots of different ways that people receive challenge coins. Some challenge coins are given to military service members and first responders to honor service, while others are given out to commemorate special events or signify membership in a special club or group.

While these are some of the most common ways to get a challenge coin, there are endless examples of situations where challenge coins are specially designed and given out. So, if you want your own challenge coins, there are plenty of ways to get them. So what are challenge coins in the first place, how and where do people typically receive them, can you make your own custom challenge coins?

Table of Contents

What Are Challenge Coins?

A challenge coin is a coin that usually features some sort of organization’s insignia and is given out to the members of said organization. They are used for a variety of purposes including commemorating special events, honoring military service or other outstanding achievements or simply proving membership and boosting morale in a group.

Pretty much anyone can make or receive a challenge coin, but challenge coins are most often given out to service members in the military and first responders like firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers, in recognition of their service to their nation and communities.

These first responder and military challenge coins are carried with great pride by those who earn them, and they serve as a physical representation of the owner’s bravery and sacrifice that can be passed down through the generations.

Still, challenge coins are used outside of those contexts as well with challenge coins being created for corporations, private clubs, sports teams, and universities more and more every day, so you shouldn’t have to join the military to get one.

Challenge Coin History

Challenge coins have their roots in military tradition with the first instance of challenge coins dating back to the days of the Roman Empire, where specially minted coins would be given to legions that had performed particularly well in battle.

The first instances of people being challenged to show their coins in order to prove membership in a group occurred all the way back in the late 1600s in France where Protestantism had recently been outlawed and protestants were forced to practice their religion in secret.

During these tough times, protestants would show a méreau or small medallion or coin that provided proof that they were a member of the church and not a government spy trying to infiltrate the protestant community.

However, the modern challenge coin tradition didn’t start appearing until the first World War, when a young American Air Force pilot was able to prove his identity to french forces using a coin given to him by his squadron leader.

By World War II, the allied powers were using something called a coin check, where individuals would be forced to show their challenge coin, to ensure that their meetings could not be infiltrated by German spies. Essentially if you failed to produce a coin or didn’t have the same coin as everyone else, it was clear that you were not supposed to be there and were probably a german spy.

The evolution of the challenge coin tradition continued into the Vietnam War where infantry-run bars would force outsiders to buy everyone in the bar a drink if they could not prove that they had seen combat. Showing a military challenge coin quickly became the easiest way to do that, further enforcing the tradition of challenging people to show their challenge coins.

Where And How To Get Challenge Coins

Challenge coins are made and given out by a variety of different organizations, clubs, and other groups but here are some of the most common ways that you people get challenge coins.

Military Challenge Coins

There are lots of ways that people get challenge coins, but as you should know by now, they are most deeply rooted in military tradition and are commonly given to active military personnel and veterans.

Military challenge coins are given out for a variety of reasons. Some are simply given out to members of a specific military branch or specialized unit to boost morale and show pride in where they serve and who they serve with.

Other times, military challenge coins are given out as awards to recognize and honor exceptional achievement or bravery in the face of extreme danger. Truly exceptional soldiers deserve recognition and challenge coins have been a traditional way that the armed forces do this.

First Responder Challenege Coins

Along similar lines as military challenge coins, challenge coins are often given out to firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers to honor their service to their communities. These coins may be simply given to someone as they become a member of a new fire station or police force, but they are also often used to recognize service anniversaries and exceptional achievements.

Civilian Organization and Club Challenge Coins

The most common way that normal people can get challenge coins is by joining any number of civilian organizations or clubs. You may receive a club challenge coin just for being a member or you might be presented with one later to recognize some achievement you made.

For instance, the Boy Scouts of America is a widely known and respected organization for young boys. The highest rank that you can achieve in the Boy Scouts is that of Eagle Scout. Achieving this rank takes years of hard work and planning, and many scouts that achieve this rank are presented with Eagle Scout award challenge coins to honor their achievement.

Challenge clubs are also great for commemorating special occasions or events and may be given out to members of a private sports club to recognize people for their efforts in the past year or celebrate a club anniversary.

Challenge coins like this create memories and common bonds between club members and give a sense of seniority to those who have been around a while and have received the most.

University and Sports Team Challenge Coins

Universities and sports teams produce and distribute their own coins as well. For example, a college might make and give out a special challenge coin to all of the students who attended their graduation ceremony to honor their achievements.

Both collegiate and professional sports teams often distribute their own challenge coins as well. Making a challenge coin to commemorate a championship season and giving it out to the fans that attend the championship celebration back home is a great way to get people excited about a new piece of sports memorabilia that will feel personal to them.

High schools can often get in on the action too, often creating their own custom challenge coin for graduations, homecoming, or again to celebrate championship sports seasons.

Corporation And Business Challenge Coins

Challenge coins aren’t just reserved for people who are part of a particular organization or group. In fact, many businesses and corporations have begun to take advantage of the fact that a challenge coin is a much more memorable and effective tool than a business card.

A corporate challenge coin can be given out at a sales event to increase brand awareness or possibly improve the chance that a potential client will remember you and come back to you in the future.

A corporate challenge coin could even be used to improve the morale of a company’s workers or be given out as an award for superior performance at work. With the ease of being able to create your own custom coin, companies will continue to use them in creative ways.

Can You Make Your Own Custom Challenge Coins

If you aren’t a member of any special clubs or organizations and you still really want to get your hands on some challenge coins, you’re in luck, because anyone can design and create their own custom challenge coin whenever they want to.

For instance here at PinProsPlus, we can take any idea you have and turn it into your perfect challenge coin design. You don’t need to be a service member or join a private club. All you need to do is come up with a good idea and you’ll have your own custom challenge coins in no time.

There are tons of different customization options to choose from including the type of metal, coin plating, and coin edge. You can also get any artwork, symbol, or text that you want printed on the coin, ensuring that your challenge coin will be as unique as possible when compared to anyone else’s.

Bottom line, if you like challenge coins, you don’t have to go super far out of your way to get them. You can make and buy your own challenge coin with all of the custom features that you want, creating memories that can be kept and collected for yourself or shared with friends and family.

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