Challenge Coins: More than a Token

By Caryn Smith © 2010, All Rights Reserved

Challenge coins have been carried by members of the military for decades. According to legend, the coins first appeared during World War I, and were used to prove membership in a particular unit. Still carried by members of the armed forces today, these coins are also becoming popular with other organizations. They serve as tangible proof of allegiance to a particular group, and offer a physical reminder of the camaraderie the members share.

The coins earned their name by being the centerpiece of a challenge – a request by one member of a group for all other members to present their coins. The idea behind the challenge is that a member of a particular regiment should, at all times, be able to produce his coin as a way of showing dedication to his unit. Modern challenges most often take place in bars, with members who fail to show their coins buying the next round.

Challenge Coins Move Beyond the Military

Today, challenge coins are becoming more popular among non-military organizations. Police and fire departments use them to improve morale, motorcycle clubs carry them as a way of proving membership, and scout troops offer coins as rewards for certain tasks or levels of achievement. Each use is designed to build team spirit and bring the members of a unit or group closer together.

Police and fire departments use challenge coins in a number of ways. They’re often given as achievement awards, or as a way to show membership in a new squad. D.A.R.E. officers can give the coins to the children they work with, to help remind them there are better things in life than drugs. Coins also act as memorials for fallen heroes.

Challenge coins make a unique giveaway for fundraising activities. For example, if your group or club is raising money for an outing, a challenge coin bearing your logo and the destination and year can be sold to family members and friends. They get the satisfaction of knowing they were able to help with a worthy cause, while at the same time receiving a valuable piece suitable for display. High-quality metal medallions provide a lasting memory not possible with other popular fundraising methods.

Challenge Coin Collecting

Not only are the coins a great way to motivate and inspire group members and raise money for a cause, they’re also a popular collector’s item. History buffs, NASCAR fans, and other hobbyists enjoy collecting and trading these colorful medallions. That challenge coin bearing your insignia may someday find its way onto a collector’s most wanted list.

Today’s challenge coins bear little resemblance to the primitive metal coins from World War I. The availability of multiple color combinations and intricate designs and text make them the perfect choice among those who wish to commemorate an event or simply offer tangible evidence of community involvement. For police and fire departments, military regiments, and scout troops, challenge coins provide a link to the past while looking toward the future.

Caryn Smith is Manager of Signature Pins. When you need challenge coins visit today and get your order in just 10 days, guaranteed!

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