20 September 2021
Have you ever heard of challenge coins? You should know about them!
What are challenge coins?
Challenge coins are best known for originating in WW1 within the military. They were initiated for military personnel to show which troupes or squadrons they were or had been part of. The origin of challenge coins is unknown, though, as some have dated back thousands of years. However, in the modern world, we have seen a resurgence since WW1. Although the coins aren’t used as currency, they can be swapped or used as a medal to show which troupes or battalions past and present military personnel they have been a part of. In some circles, they have been used to gain entry into the inner sanctum of that troupe.
In addition, each president since Clinton had their own presidential coin. There are different coins given at different times in the presidency such as; the inauguration and one that celebrates their administration. However, they have been spread into the corporate world also, where different organisations providee their employees as physical tokens of appreciation. Furthermore, many other groups have since developed their own coins to show allegiance to their passions.
Are they worth anything?
Military challenge coins are actually collector’s items and can be worth quite a bit of money. As historically they were used to boost morale and show a soldiers history, they are seen as a memorial to those soldiers. Some collectors can pay a lot of money for rarer coins. In everyday life, they are worth little in monetary value, but to those within organisations and groups who value the coins, they can be worth quite a lot in value and respect.
How can I get a challenge coin?
Unlike in history where challenge coins were provided to all soldiers in battalions, they are now given via private handshake with the coin inside. This is shown as a mark of respect and thanks to those who have worked hard or who deserve praise.
The most commonly seen way to receive a challenge coin is when Obama would hand out challenge coins to the soldiers protecting the stairs on Air Force One.
Coins for civilians
As already mentioned, many civilian companies now use challenge coins as a symbol of thanks or for teams or individuals who work exceedingly well. In recent years the coins have changed shape from circular coins with individualised battalion pictures, to different shaped coins with different colours and pictures to show more in-depth what the coin is for. Companies such as Challenge Coins Ltd create challenge coins of all shapes and sizes. Challenge coins have developed from a relatively elitist object in the military to a more achievable desire for civilians. There is still the onus that the receiver has done something important to get one, or that the receiver is part of an elite club, but they are becoming more mainstream than previously seen within the military.