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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Challenge Coins


Curious to learn more about challenge coins? Here’s a complete guide with everything you ever wanted to know about challenge coins!

Have you ever heard about challenge coins? Ever wondered what challenge coins are for?

You may heard about them in 2017 when President Trump redesigned the presidential challenge coin. There’s a huge difference between his challenge coin and former President Barack Obama’s. Opinions about the new design are very different.

Wonder no more about them because we’ve got a quick guide on everything you want to know about challenge coins.

  1. History of Challenge Coins and the Handshake

For a century, challenge coins have been in the American military tradition.

One of the earliest rumored origins is during WWI when an American soldier gave his ace flyers minted coins with their squad insignia. One of them got shot down, got captured by German soldiers, and then escaped into France. The minted coin saved his life when he used it to prove to the French military that he wasn’t a German spy.

Col. “Buffalo Bill” Quinn of the 17th Infantry Regiment made minted coins for his men during the Korean War. One side had a buffalo and another had the Regiment’s insignia. He drilled a hole at the top so his men could wear it around their necks.

  1. What Are Challenge Coins?

A challenge coin is a representation of anything from a small unit to a leader at the top. They are custom coins that mark camaraderie, commitment, and allegiance. Often, military personnel and top leaders have and use them.

Before his retirement, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates toured military bases in Afghanistan. He shook hands with men and women in the Armed Forces in what appeared to be a simple exchange of respect. In fact, it was a secret handshake with a special Secretary of Defense challenge coin for the recipient.

  1. Uses of Challenge Coins

Military personnel receives challenge coins as a commemoration of hard-fought battles. Most often, service members collect challenge coins. They display challenge coins to show off missions they’ve been on, the top leaders they’ve met, and the units which they’ve worked for.

In tradition, carriers of a challenge coin use it to prove membership when challenged. It also enhances the morale of a unit. Now, some coins get made for special events, anniversaries, and even nonmilitary leaders.

Every president and vice president have their own challenge coins. Presidential challenge coins started with Bill Clinton. Vice-presidential challenge coins began with Dick Cheney.

Often, there are a few different challenge coins. There can be one for the inauguration, one for administration, and one for the general public. The one for the general public is often available in gift shops.

Police challenge coins are an inexpensive way to recognize outstanding officers, boost department visibility, and foster camaraderie among them. Learn more on police challenge coins, how they became so popular, and why you want them in your unit.

More Chances for Challenge Coins

That’s our quick guide on challenge coins and everything you need to know about them.

Do you have an organization or company of your own? Create your company’s own challenge coin, give it to your employees, and evoke morale. If you do, remember to give weight and bearing to the challenge coins as they should have.

For more informative content like this, all you need to do is check out our other posts and guides.