Origin Of Custom Coins In The Military And How They Are Used Today

In recent years, custom coins have become more common in both military and private sectors. It all started as a military tradition and then grew into something with wider reach.


Now, why are these custom coins also called challenge coins and what do they do? According to a well-known legend, it is said that challenge coin originated in the US Air Force during World War I. A wealthy lieutenant ordered custom-made medallions for every member of his unit. The medallions had their insignia, which is a symbol of their unit and identity. Not long after, one of the pilots of this unit was shot down and was captured by the Germans. The Germans stripped him off his uniform, forced him to wear civilian clothes, and took all his identifications. However, they left the medallion with him, which he carried in a small pouch around his neck.

custom military coins

Luckily, the pilot escaped, and was able to make his way to a French post. Since he does not have any identification anymore, he was suspected to be a German spy. He was then captured again and sentenced to die. When he was about to be executed, he showed his medallion and the French recognized the symbol printed on it. He proved that he was not a spy, but rather an American ally. Soon enough, he was reunited with his unit. Although there was no proof that these events actually happen, it is still a great bar tale, which is why it is a well-known legend.

Custom Coins in the Military

That legend was the beginning when these coins have become common in every branch of the United States military. Each of the division or branch has their own custom design. Now, you might ask why these coins are also called challenge coins. You may be wondering where the “challenge” came from.

In the military tradition, a soldier can challenge other soldier or soldiers at any time, particularly when they are at a military bar. This challenge could be voiced out or simply made by slapping the coin down on a bar or table. Every soldier who is challenged must present their challenge coin immediately. Those who do not have their coin with them will pay for the next round of drinks. However, if everyone was able to show their coins, the challenger is the one going to pay.

Custom Challenge Coins in Other Organizations

These coins have also made their way to other organizations that have a quasi-military structure like the firefighters and police departments. Their coins represent a unique bond among the members of these organizations based on their sacrifices to save people as well as their common experiences.

custom challenge coins

Businesses also use these coins to help boost the morale of their employees, specifically in circumstances when they use these coins as awards to recognize their achievements. For instance, the coins can be given to carefully selected people to honor them for having a remarkable performance like meeting the sales goals. Businesses can also use these coins for company-wide projects, such as promotional campaigns.

Collecting Challenge Coins

As mentioned, these coins have been common not just in the military, but also among private groups. Some servicemen, past and present, and also ordinary people like to have their coins as mementos and collect them.


While these coins are traditionally round, the manufacturers herewww.challengecoins4less.com you can get best options for other shapes you want. However, keep in mind that round coins usually have the biggest area for a certain price. Aside from shapes, you can also choose from various sizes, custom cut edges, 3D designs, sequential numbering, cutouts, antiquing effects, etc. You can also opt to have your custom challenge coins as dog tags, keychains, and even bottle openers. That way, they are not just an ornament or keepsake, but they can also serve other functions. You also choose from various metals, such as copper, bronze, silver, gold, black nickel, or duo-tone metal.

Custom Coins

Over the years, custom coins have shown that they have become popular in other organizations and are not exclusive for the military. Because of the durability, uniqueness, and beauty of these coins, they appeal to many non-profit organizations, business, and other government and private groups.