The Challenge of Continuing the Challenge Coins Tradition

Military personnel are familiar with the challenge coins tradition and its colorful history, as intertwined with military history itself. For many years, these coins or small medallions were produced and given to the members of a particular military unit in recognition of their special accomplishments or just to boost their morale, especially during the war. Back then, few people know the significance and value of the coin to its bearer or what it truly represents to these people.

Some people do not even know what it looks like. It is quite understandable if people are not that familiar with the tradition considering that it used to be exclusive for a particular branch of the armed forces only. It was not until just recently that the tradition had extended to other branches of the armed forces including the firefighters and police.

What is significant development however, is that the tradition of the challenge coins spilled over to the civilian groups, including law makers and professionals such as Doctors and Lawyers. Nowadays, civilian groups embark on giving away or selling their medallions to raise funds for a particular cause or to commemorate a special event. Giving away these medallions does not cause much to the organizations since these coins are not that expensive to produce. Depending on your chosen designs and the metals used, you can opt for a zinc alloy base that is a lot cheaper than other base metals.

challenge coinsThe challenge coins tradition was a way of boosting morale of soldiers and commemorating their close bonds developed through experiencing the hurdles and risks of fighting together against the enemy. It was also a way of guaranteeing that soldiers will carry their coins with them wherever they go. Such intents and purposes have already evolved through the years and as the tradition spilled over to civilian organizations. It still serves to enhance the morale of members, especially if the organization is quite distinguished in the area.

Being able to present a work of art as proof of your membership to a notable organization is quite pleasing and delightful. These medallions are truly an art on their own with their notable insignia, designs and color. That is perhaps the reason why people flock to buy commemorative coins to a specific organization’s fundraising activity. They are able to give something for a cause in return for having such delightful work of art.

Through the years, no formal set of rules had been issued governing the challenge. Hence, one can issue a loud “coin-check” to raise a challenge or one can pass his coin to the person sitting next to him or intentionally drop or rap the coin against the bar to get the attention of people near him. Even the penalty for those who fail to present their challenge coins is not that strict, although it usually consists of buying the challenger a drink or round of drinks.

One can even steal another bearer’s coin and the person from whom it was taken from should buy a drink for the “thief”. There are other variations to the rules of the challenge, some of which had generated disagreements between groups and even amongst co-members. That is the reason perhaps why issuing a challenge across organizations was not encouraged or allowed.

Despite the lack of formal rules regarding the issuance and acceptance of the challenge coins tradition, organizations are still practicing it according to their own version. It provides entertainment and a fun way of interaction for the members, which do not deter the genuine value that organizations place on the coins.