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What are Challenge Coins?

what are Challenge Coins

What is a challenge coin? Have you ever wondered what the circular medals soldiers keep and trade are called? Let me assure you that ‘medal’ isn’t exactly the correct term for them. They’re really called challenge coins and these coins hold great value for people who possess them. They’re not limited to being used by the military as various organizations use these challenge coins as tokens of participation or certification.

What is a challenge coin? Challenge coins are given to individuals to showcase an honorable achievement or confirm someone’s membership in a particular organization. Typically, they’re awarded in ceremonies and are considered as a symbol of pride and honor. Typically ranging in size anywhere from 1″ in diameter to 4″ in diameter.


There’s no certainty about when the idea of challenge coins came into being but a rough estimate narrows it down to the World War I. There was a need to show the importance of certain individuals during the war. However, the actual physical production of challenge coins was initiated by a Colonel during the Korean War, to show gratitude to his soldiers.

Moving on, challenge coins made their way to various organizations and special forces. Initially, to exemplify their achievements, soldiers would carry around an unused bullet to tell their tales. With the passage of time, these bullets converted into challenge coins that ensured their heroic actions in the eyes of the general public.

Now, apart from soldiers, presidents and vice presidents are also given challenge coins that acknowledge their importance, along with being a symbol of honor.

How are they made?

A challenge coin is made using either copper, pewter, or nickel. The finishing may come in different variations but the purpose is all the same. They’re about a two inches in diameter and usually feature engravings of a particular organization. Furthermore, the design of these challenge coins depends on the preference of the organization. The different types of designs that one can choose from including a variety of enamel highlights, cut-outs, and multidimensional designs.

What do they represent?

These medallions are primarily given to those who deserve recognition for their formidable and heroic actions. Not only is it of great value to them, but it also is a great moment of pride for the friends and family of those receiving the challenge coin.

The underlying concept of challenge coins is to represent organizations, units and teams. Additionally, they’ve been used for a very long time to communicate the importance of certain individuals. You might be thinking ‘what is a challenge coin’s specialty?’ Well, let me assure you, this special medallion or coin is given to deserving candidates. Those individuals who go above and beyond their given duties for the sake of their nation or organization.

It holds a special place in the receiver’s heart and soul as it signifies their value to that particular organization.

Since these challenge coins have such great sentimental value, it’s important to keep them safe. You want to showcase them to your friends and family and make sure they’re displayed in an elegant way. In conclusion, whether you’ve got one challenge coin or hundred, invest in a display from to show-off your hard-earned challenge coins.

View our Challenge Coin Displays

For more information, feel free to contact us.

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