Signature Pins Blog

Foster a Sense of Pride and Achievement with Distinctive Custom Challenge Coins

Challenge coins allegedly date back to World War I, when a military officer presented his men with bronze medallions imprinted with their flying squadron’s insignia. Later, one of the pilots was captured by the French, who were preparing to execute him when they found the medallion in a leather pouch he was carrying. Instead of harming the pilot, the French captors gave him a bottle of wine. From then on, it became a tradition for squadron members to carry the medallion on their person at all times. If a challenger asked to see the medallion and the member could not produce it, they were required to buy a drink for the challenger. If a medallion was produced, the challenging member was the one buying the drink.

Today, the challenge coin tradition lives on, embraced by all branches of the U.S. military as well as police and fire departments and professional and social organizations. It’s a symbol of excellence and pride, and a tangible way to connect with other members of a group. True to custom, coin holders are expected to always keep the coin in their possession in anticipation of a “coin check.”

Graduation / Alumni Tokens

Along with handing students a diploma or degree certificate when they walk across the stage at commencement, consider giving them a challenge coin depicting your school’s logo and slogan. As they move forward in life, this coin will provide students with a poignant reminder of your institution.

Military Identification / Recognition

Challenge coins bearing your unit’s insignia or emblem can be used to enhance morale among members while providing proof of affiliation. Coins may also be presented to officers who have exemplified outstanding service and bravery.

School Achievement

Want to recognize your top-performing students in a unique and meaningful way? Have a challenge coin customized with your school’s logo, and present it to those who have exceeded academic or extracurricular expectations.

Sports Success

Have your players had an extraordinary year? Create a challenge coin with your team’s logo and hand it out as a reward for months of hard work and perseverance.

Event Giveaways

Whether you’re hosting a major charity event, corporate conference, wedding, or milestone birthday party, consider passing out custom challenge coins to all of your attendees. This is an affordable, elegant way to thank guests for their time—plus it provides a special memento that people will be proud to display at home.

First Responder Recognition

Commend the outstanding bravery of your fire or law enforcement personnel while inspiring unity and teamwork across the entire department. Many policemen and firefighters have amassed impressive challenge coin collections over their careers, and now have a treasured keepsake to pass on to loved ones.

Modern challenge coins are available in virtually any shape or color combination, and can feature such details as mottos, dates, and event names. A reputable challenge coin producer will be able to ensure your organization’s colors and emblem are flawlessly recreated for instant recognition.

Caryn Smith is Manager of Signature Pins. When you need custom lapel pins, visit today.

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