What are Challenge Coins and Why Should you Use Them?
What is a challenge coin?
In simple terms, a challenge coin is a specially designed coin that is usually given to an individual to confirm membership into an organization or group, typically bearing the group’s emblem or insignia. They are also given in some circumstances to honor some sort of achievement. They are also given to help boost morale within an organization or group when a ‘challenge’ has been completed, a sort of reward. These coins are especially popular among service members and law enforcement. Editor’s note: When buying challenger coins use an experienced professional like Irvin Hahn Co.
How did the tradition of giving challenge coins start?
There are a few theories as to how this tradition began, some dating back to ancient times. One theory claims that challenge coins were awarded to soldiers in the Roman Empire to recognize their military achievements. Another story dates challenge coins back to the renaissance where unique challenge coins were created to commemorate specific events royalty, nobility, or other upperclassmen, typically depicting the patron on one side and some insignia representing their family or lineage on the other.
The most commonly told story, however, indicates that challenge coins were first used during World War I. It’s told that a wealthy lieutenant had coins made of bronze and presented them to his unit. The story goes that one young French pilot was captured by the Germans who took all of his identification and help him captive.
He managed to escape and cross no man’s land. After making it back to a French outpost, without bearing any identification, he was written off as a saboteur and sentenced to execution. He had no way to prove his allegiance, but before execution, he produced the coin, which he had kept with him in a pouch around his neck. Someone recognized the insignia, and stayed the execution, offering the pilot a bottle of wine.
It then became a tradition that all members of his squadron wear their medallions on their person at all times. A challenge started among them where the challenger would ask someone to produce their coin. If they could not, they had to buy the challenger a drink.
Why choose a challenge coin?
Challenge coins have come a far way from their origins, whichever story may be true. However, the meaning behind it has never wavered. Challenge coins are a great morale booster of any team or organization and help inspire the community. If you are looking for a way to reward a team member, or give them recognition for a job well done, challenge coins are a great, simple, and personal way to do this. Think about something like the boy scouts. Scouts complete a number of challenges and learn specific skills in hopes of receiving badges. Challenge coins are used in very much the same way. They can inspire someone within your organization to work towards a goal, serve as a reward, boost morale, and create a community among members. This is a major reason why challenge coins have become widely used in the military and with other servicemen (police, firefighters, etc). Challenge coins are easily customizable, adding a personal and unique touch to the ones your organization use.
Challenge coins are easily customizable and can be a very cost efficient means of rewarding servicemen and women. They help remind people within an organization that their work is noticed, appreciated, and doing good for others. This is a great way to inspire hard work and provide recognition in a memorable and tangible manner. One day, they will serve as memories as members look back on their achievements, recalling their hard work and accomplishments. While members of service certainly don’t do their work for the rewards and acknowledgements, it’s always a great idea to recognize their efforts and help inspire others to accomplish incredible achievements as well.