Military Challenge Coin has a long and storied history, but little is known about it.

You’ve probably seen Military Challenge Coin before, perhaps at a special ceremony on TV or at your grandparents’ house, but have you ever learned what they are? As a company in the business of making custom Challenge Coins, we’re often asked “What are Challenge Coins?”, The purpose of this article is to provide you with a clear overview of these small, but interesting pieces of metal.

Believe it or not, there’s a bit of mystery surrounding them. With conflicting stories about their origins and historical purpose, it’s hard to sift through fact and fiction, but we’ll try.

1. First of all, what is a Challenge Coin?

Before we get into the background of Challenge Coin and what they represent, we should tell you what exactly Challenge Coin is. This is a custom coin commemorating everything from sports teams to the military and everything in between.

Owning one is a special honor only available to challenge coin holders, but today anyone can craft a custom challenge coin. Traditionally, they are small and round with unique artwork denoting the coin’s purpose. They may also have some wording, such as a motto or slogan, or the recipient’s name so they don’t get misplaced.

With custom Challenge Coin, you can expand on traditional patterns to include unique coin shapes, different kinds of metal plating, and other decorative items. We’ll talk more about custom Challenge Coin later, but for now, let’s dive into a surprisingly interesting (but not entirely conclusive) history of Challenge Coin.

2. Where and how did they start?

Now, the history of the challenge coin is a bit of a mystery, as there are many stories that claim to be true. We can almost certainly say that Challenge Coin originated as a “military Challenge Coin”, but beyond that, we may never be sure. Fortunately, all of the stories are pretty darn interesting, so we’re going to discuss two of the most popular of them all.

3. Ancient Roman Challenge Coin

The tradition of Challenge Coin likely goes all the way back to ancient Rome. Challenge Coin goes hand in hand with armies, so it makes sense that one of the most famous armies in history would be their starting point.

It’s a simple story: If certain Roman soldiers or units performed well in battle, they were paid their normal workday’s pay, but also received a specially minted coin as an extra. Apparently, these special coins would even be sold on their corps market, so soldiers would hold onto them instead of spending them with the rest of their paychecks.

4. World War I

Another popular challenge coin origin story comes from a more recent era. A particularly wealthy battalion commander is said to have presented each of his men with bronze medals emblazoned with their squadron.

When one of the pilots was shot down over Germany, he was captured by German soldiers who took all his belongings except the pouch containing his medal. Eventually, the soldier escaped and fled to France, but upon arrival, without any identification, he was assumed to be a spy.

Before he was executed, the pilot remembered that he had his coin and showed it to the French army. One of them recognized the badge and the pilot was sent back to his unit.

5. What does today’s Challenge Coin represent?

Regardless of where the tradition originated, Military Challenge Coins are now commonplace in armies around the world. They are given to public officials in recognition of their service to the country and can be given to anyone to commemorate any special achievement.

At SICpin we specialize in making custom coins so you can give your loved ones a perfect way to remember what they did. You don’t have to be a president or a war hero to earn Challenge Coin, but you do have to have loving family and friends who appreciate you and your accomplishments.

6. How to Make Your Own Custom Challenge Coin

To make a challenge coin for someone you love, just visit our website sicpin.com where you’ll find a variety of coins for the military, police, firefighters, masons, and just about everyone else you can think of coins. The process is simple, you tell us the coins you want to make and we’ll do it for you.

Simply provide us with your personal details, the size and shape of the coin, the number of coins you require, and the style, plating, and artwork of the coin. If you’re not sure what you want to do, our customer service team can help you figure out how to make the perfect challenge coin for your loved one.

7. What are the benefits of having a challenge coin?

Benefits of Challenge Coin

Owning a Challenge Coin is a special honor reserved for those who have achieved something extraordinary. They’re the perfect gift to commemorate someone’s military service, but they’re just as good as a birthday, graduation, or retirement gift.

When you show someone a challenge coin, you’re telling them that you’re proud of what they’ve achieved. As Challenge Coin holders, they will always be able to look back on their accomplishments with pride and remember those they have positively influenced over the years.

8. Order your Challenge Coin now

Now that we’ve told you a little about challenge coins, the next time someone asks you “What is a challenge coin?”, you can tell them. If you’d like to order some custom Challenge Coins, get a quote on our website today. We’ve worked hard to make this process as easy as possible. There’s no gift like a custom Challenge Coin. Order ASAP!