Challenge Coins

Challenge coins are small coins normally made of precious metals, with an obverse and reverse design, often containing the insignia of an institution or organization. They can be presented to members of an organization as a symbol of recognition and gratitude for a job well done, or occasionally as a reward for outstanding service. Historically, they may be presented to employees when their term of employment is ending and to boost morale amongst staff. They are also regularly collected by police and military personnel.

Their original use was probably not so much to reward as it was to warn off enemies from approaching a battle area, possibly allied troops or ambushing parties of the enemy. This was seen as especially important in the US Army, where the Army was known to rarely attack unless it was absolutely necessary, often under very critical conditions. Because of this, Army veterans have their coins made now for that exact reason. Often these coins are kept with the family of the deceased, for use in remembering the deceased. The reason for the use of challenge coins is the same today, to warn off an approaching enemy force or group of troops.

Over time, the tradition of giving challenge coins has declined somewhat. They are still very popular amongst veteran organisations and groups, though they are less common amongst the wider public. Some people may still collect them, particularly those who remember the original use in the military. They will almost certainly feature on a person’s memorial wall, and if you are lucky, you may find one with the original insignia stamped on to it.

There is no clear answer as to why they started having the special emblem on them. In some accounts, it is thought that it was to commemorate the first responders after a disaster. In more recent years, there has been much speculation as to why they were given in the first place. One theory is that it was a form of currency that could be exchanged for goods or services. The earliest examples of challenge coins were probably not worth very much, and so the coins were given out to men who were willing to go into battle. As time went by, the value of these coins gradually rose, and so did the need to give them away.

The challenge coins can be exchanged between two groups, or between two individual teams. The way in which the coin is presented to the teams may also vary, although this depends on the type of tradition that is being followed. For example, in some traditions, the team members pass the coin to each other, whereas in others, they are each asked to carry it before the game.

As well as being a memento of the match, challenge coins have a great value to the wearer. As well as showing the person wearing the coin that they have been involved in a particular match, it can also indicate a certain status within the group. A high-ranking team member might be entitled to receive a specific colour of challenge coin. If you are interested in finding out more about challenge coin tradition and how they can be used today, there are several Internet websites that can help you.