Different Types of Challenge Coins

Custom challenge coins are a wonderful way to celebrate an event or honor someone. Here are different types of challenge coins.

Custom challenge coins are a wonderful way to celebrate an event or honor someone. They can also be used to boost morale and team bonding.

Challenge coins have been used since World War I. According to one story, a lieutenant gave his men bronze coins with their unit’s insignia. When a pilot was captured behind enemy lines, he showed them his coin, and they released him.

Military Challenge Coins

A military challenge coin is a specially minted and designed medallion bearing a specific unit’s logo, symbol, or emblem in the Army, Air Force, navy, or Marine Corps. These coins are a powerful tradition in the military, and they are used to show recognition, camaraderie, and pride in the armed forces. They can also be used as a form of identification for military members, especially when they are out in public, and can even be presented to other people who have worked with members of a particular unit.

The history of military challenge coins is a bit murky, but they are believed to have originated in World War I. 

Military challenge coins are available in various designs and can be personalized with the logo or motto of your choice. They are also a great way to recognize service members who go above and beyond the call of duty. Typically, a senior leader presents a challenge coin in recognition of a job well done and is usually passed from the giver’s right hand to the recipient’s.

Business Challenge Coins

Aside from military and police departments – many businesses are adopting challenge coin usage. Often, these coins are engraved with the company logo or other design elements. As such, they’re a great way to connect employees and customers with the brand. These coins also serve as unique employee identifiers and can be handed out at special events or recognition ceremonies.

Business challenge coins can be created with several designs on both sides and in various sizes and shapes. The front side may feature the company’s emblem or insignia and a motto, while the back can have more intricate designs or additional information.

While it’s not common, some companies honor their employees with custom challenge coins. For instance, employees who meet specific criteria, such as leaving a base, getting a promotion, or meeting with dignitaries, are rewarded with the coin.

These coins can be shaped uniquely; some have extra features like bottle openers or spinners. These extras add to the overall cost of the coin. The company also has the option to choose a soft or hard enamel finish and can even add a glitter or epoxy coating. Additionally, the company can choose to use dual-plating – where the coin is plated in one color, and the banners or center area are finished in a different color.

Firefighter Challenge Coins

Firefighters are a courageous group of people who work tirelessly to save lives and protect communities. They face countless occupational hazards and have to put their own lives on the line daily, often in dangerous situations. As such, they deserve recognition and appreciation. Challenge coins are an excellent way to show your firefighters you appreciate and support their efforts.

Like military challenge coins, firefighter challenge coins can be customized with various designs and symbols. These custom-designed coins can also feature a variety of other customizations to localize them for specific departments, rescue units, or even individual firefighters. For example, a fire department can choose to add design elements like a particular landmark, an in-joke, or the mascot of their firehouse to personalize their coin.

Besides celebrating exceptional service, rescue operations, or training, firefighter challenge coins can be awarded to firefighters who demonstrate exemplary work. They can also be handed out during community events or to civilians who attend safety classes or public outreach programs. Since these coins are a visible reminder of a fire department’s safety teachings and values, they can help build connections between firefighters and the communities they serve. As a result, firefighters are proud to display their challenge coin collections at home and in their fire stations.

Police Challenge Coins

Police challenge coins are used to honor law enforcement personnel who have lost their lives while performing their duties and honor the dedication and selflessness of department members. They also help build a sense of community among police officers, and they can be customized with different elements such as specific messages, essential dates, sequential numbering, or unique artwork.

Just like military challenge coins, police challenge coins are often made with high-quality materials and can be customized to fit a specific department or unit. They can feature familiar iconography such as police badges, a thin blue line flag, or a bust of St. Michael, the patron saint of police. They can also include particular messages, important dates, and a variety of colors to make them more unique.

The exact origin of police challenge coins is unknown, but it’s believed they were brought over from the military by former servicemen who joined police forces. They were then used to build camaraderie in their new units, just like in the military. One story says that American GIs who frequented bars in occupied Germany during World War II inspired the original coin concept. Locals would perform “pfennig checks” on them, and whoever couldn’t produce their coin had to buy drinks for everyone else.

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