What was once a tradition only among the US military has now become a global collectible. Custom challenge coins have become the mark of unity and membership around the world, and are becoming even more popular every day.
We shipped an order of 5600 custom challenge coins to the Australian Defense Forces last month whose popularity spread like wildfire among the ranks. Through international dealings, friends of the ADF understood the meaning of unity and pride represented by such challenge coins and ordered their own set.
As you can imagine, the excitement caused by the challenge coins spread to other organizations “down under” and beyond. The end result was several orders of unique military coins being shipped to the far side of the globe to represent other units.
Challenge coins are no longer a tradition exclusive to the United States. Foreign Military Units, Governmental Agencies, Civic Groups and Sports teams alike are discovering the popularity of challenge coins and creating their own custom coins every day.
Remember that all we need is your idea and we can take it from there in the development of your challenge coins, or if you already have your design on paper – great! Having your challenge coins design already composed will speed up the process considerably.
Let us help your organization create its own challenge coin by getting your free challenge coins quote today.
Most challenge coins are manufactured in a way that “stamps” your design into a round or custom shape. This process creates raised metal areas that outline the design elements and allow for an area to hold enamel color fills. Once the color is added to the challenge coins, the finished product will display all the colors used separated by those raised metal lines.
But what if your order of challenge coins requires a picture or design element that uses color gradients or fades? The solution would be an offset printed insert to one or both sides of your challenge coins.
An offset printed insert allows intricate detail to be added to a challenge coin design that is not allowable with the traditional metal stamping methods. As you can imagine, this option opens up a myriad of possibilities to make your order of challenge coins truly unique.
Each printed section of the challenge coin is carefully adhered to the face of metal surface in your desired location. The printed portion is then coated with a protective epoxy coating for a smooth, polished look.
Who takes advantage of such a unique option on their custom coins? Well,ask the 2012 graduating class of Freehold Preparatory School. With the school’s insignia manufactured in traditional form on the front side of the challenge coin, the obverse side of the challenge coin displayed the entire 113 student class photograph on the school’s front lawn.
“This was truly an amazing coin, and unlike any we had made in the past.” Principal Thomas McGuffey has a collection of challenge coins in his office from previous years, but explained that the 2012 coin would mark the change in the way future coins were ordered. “I only wish we had known about this type of challenge coin sooner – previous graduating classes will certainly be envious.”
Freehold Preparatory is not the first to use this unique manufacturing method for their challenge coins, and won’t be the last. Military units, corporations, and local clubs have also discovered the versatility of this option.
As technology evolves, it appears that custom challenge coins will not be left in the dark. One can only wonder what the next breakthrough design technique will be in the wonderful world of challenge coins.
Challenge coins are personalized coins that show the seal/message/logo of a particular team that members of the group typically carry with them. These coins are presented to verify or signify one’s membership. Many military groups and private parties collect and trade such coins as well.
People have different hobbies that they indulge in. Some like painting, taking photographs, work on handicrafts, bake, and so many more. Then there are those who are into collecting various items such as stamps, antiques, and custom challenge coins. In theory, challenge coins are no longer historical at present, being that they can already be created bearing a preferred design imprinted on it. This is why they are referred to as custom challenge coins. Nevertheless, custom challenge coins can still be manufactured in such a way that they epitomize their past history.
Military Challenge Coins
It has been customary for US military members to carry a special kind of coin, one that symbolizes the identity of their own units, and their solidarity. In the midst of battle where brave soldiers form powerful bonds of brotherhood with other members of their unit, custom challenge coins are expressly minted, each one carrying valued symbols and maxims. These military challenge coins are able to capture the spirit of a serviceman’s affiliation and his strong pride in being a member of a special unit. They hold a vital place in today’s military life and are respected by every troop in all the branches of military service.
The rich coin history goes back to the earliest of conflicts in American history, during the time that the American forces were sent to far distant places of the world to ensure the freedom of the country. In the Civil War, soldiers customarily went to war carrying a coin in their pocket. These coins were kept long after battle to serve as a permanent reminder of the experiences during the war.
Military coins became a lot more popular at the run of the new Millennium. The source of inspiration for challenge coins was the Special Forces, who made coins as an expression of their distinct identity, as well as the strong union they had among themselves. This motivated other units to create their own distinct coin that would develop comradeship and serve as a representation of their pride in being one of the select few of an elite unit.
The challenge coin is not just a simple token. In today’s world, army challenge coins are tangible objects that serve as a significant reminder that American soldiers, no matter what positions they may hold, that they can truly stand proud. They are used by Commanders as instant awards, and it is not a rare thing that superior military leaders would be proudly giving these coins to dignitaries as well as other notable personages. Custom challenge coins have always been carried. Spot checks on coins are still very much done in the military, with several penalties meted out to those who do not carry them.
A Look Back
Challenge coins are considered to be items that are versatile, unforgettable, and incredibly attractive. Dating back to the 1930s, these wonderful coins were constantly utilized to help establish unity, for promoting camaraderie, reinforcing alliances, and supporting accomplishments and victories. For close to a hundred years now, members of the military have come up with custom unit coins, using them for increasing awareness and raising funds, keeping the public in the know about relevant issues, and bestowing honor on outstanding personnel of units within the Army, the Marines, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard.
Such coins are, at present, no longer an American Military Forces exclusive item. They are very popular in schools, sports teams, business establishments, and various organizations. Because they are very personalized, custom challenge coins are the perfect tools for marketing purposes as well as motivations for people who opt to make use of them for whatever function they serve. They are a symbol of courage and strength, and an inspiration for fellowship and camaraderie.
Uses of Custom Challenge Coins
Challenge coins are not just for challenging. They can also be given as awards for special service beyond the call of duty, or for outstanding achievements in the service. What these challenge coins do is really boost morale. The “Bull Dog” is a challenge coin popularly known among the US Air Force personnel, exclusively presented to the enlisted tail gunners of an iconic combat airplane. It was given to gunners when they graduated from technical training in the Air Force and symbolized their admission to the specialized group. It symbolized courage and strength, represented by the official mascot of the gunners, the Bulldog. Because this particular position was terminated back in 1991, this particular challenge coin is now a rarity. It was also presented to leaders and commanders who displayed the bulldog spirit, referred to as the elite.
There are a number of collectors who purchase these challenge coins for what they call the coin’s numismatic value. When these challenge coins are presented as awards for accomplishments, they are passed on through a handshake, wherein an explanation is given for why a coin is awarded.
How Valuable Are Custom Challenge Coins?
Personalized challenge coins are fairly economical to design as well as to produce. They are manufactured through two types of processes, die struck bronze and zinc alloy. Castings from zinc alloy are basically cheaper with a quality that is quite good. However, when this type of coin is placed inside the pocket, the patina has a tendency to fade and the base metal is exposed. Die struck bronze on the other hand is of high quality, although this type does cost more. Challenge coins that represent some elite military units go for $50-120 each, depending on the process of production, design, enamels, number of coins made initially, etc.
Custom coins originated from military challenge coins, which were used by various armed forces units to identify members when challenged by sentries. Today, custom challenge coins from the military, sports teams and organizations are prized by collectors and traders from all over the country. A healthy market has grown around these items, along with trading pins and cards. By knowing more about challenge coins and other custom coins, you can freely trade pieces from your own collection or have your own minted at the best possible prices.
Custom coins are usually made from enamels plated with metals or alloys, such as gold color, brass plating and similar substances. Using challenge coins for trading or collecting can be enhanced by knowledge about each set’s background, including the history of the unit, the details about the minting and the previous owners of the coin. Among challenge coins, custom military coins have the longest history and possess some of the most valuable pieces in the industry.
Trading Coins Emerges Into Popular Hobby
Custom challenge coins are mostly traded these days online in forums and other communities. Levels of participation and knowledge among these groups vary from novice to experts. Experienced custom coin traders know to trade only with reliable members of these communities, or when trading with a stranger, to research his background, particularly his reputation with other coin collectors. Trading is assisted with online payment and secure shipping services. Collectors can also trade using auction websites and classified ads, though the reliability of sellers through these channels is less reliable than existing communities. When trading online, always choose a clear, large image of your custom coin from both sides to allow other parties to evaluate it. The image should also be accompanied with a ruler to objectively determine its dimensions. Finally, collectors can show up during military-themed conventions or collector’s fair, where they can meet other enthusiasts. These places are also popular venues for community members who wish to transact face to face. Professional coin shops and armed forces stores also exhibit in these events to launch new custom coins or sell sets and pieces to attendees.
Designing Custom Coins
To make custom coins for your sports team or organization, you need to come up with a design first. The best custom coin designs respect the lack of space for reach tiny surface and will contain only a few elements that evoke the spirit of the team. The colors are commonly limited to three of four which identities the group, and the name, title and slogan of the team are indicated on the coin. Private minters have the ability to print and color in small surfaces using precise machinery, as well as presses and mold to form odd- or irregular-shaped coins. You can design coins with precious metals incorporated in the image, such as gold or silver, or simple metals such as copper and bronze. Unit crests, company logos and team mascots are common custom coin designs, although groups may release limited editions with specific designs to capture the spirit of a particular year or event. Designing unique elements, such as recessed areas, have added distinction in existing coins and may be used in future designs.
Minting A Coin
After designing a custom coin, you should contact several manufacturers in your area to create, or mint, a limited number of pieces with your design. These private mints have the equipment to create coins, medallions, medals and other metal pieces with fine precision and precious metals. Use online search engines to locate such mints and email them the image of your design as well as the specifications, including the type of metal, the number of pieces to produced and thickness. If in doubt with the reliability of the mints you find, do a background check based on reviews from other customers who have done business with them. These mints will then send quotes for minting and their other terms. Avail of discounts and promos if possible to make the most of your budget. Choose a mint that suits your budget and specifications. Challenge Coins Limited is known for their work on custom coins and are well worth approaching for minting possibilities. Finalize the agreement by settling on the price, payment method, shipping date and method. Ask for a return guarantee in case they send defective coins or an amount that is less than agreed upon. Always ask for more coins than you need, as there will always be a market for these items. You can also consider having other memorabilia to be minted with your design on it, such as medallions, gold coins and even knives.
Distributing and Selling
Once you receive your custom challenge coins, distribute them among the members of your group. The rest of the coins can be sold to collectors, traders and other interested parties. They may also be presented to special individuals as gifts for their contributions to the group. Bring some of the custom coins when attending special events or conventions and use them for collecting coins from other groups. You may either opt to mint only one standard design or different designs for every year or event, which can be also prized by collectors.
Storing Your Challenge Coins
Prized coins are rarely exposed for public perusal, as pollutants in the air and the risks of scratches from handling will inevitably affect the alloys and substances in the coin. Custom coins are usually kept in special storage boxes and stored away from light, heat and moisture, all of which can deteriorate the coin. You may also keep your coins in a special album that allows for viewing multiple items with every page. Some albums to consider are the Intercept Shield, which has a solid design that protects the contents, the Dansco, a popular album format, and the US Mint series, the official album format of the government agency. Cleaning is usually done with soft wipes and especially safe solutions that will not chemically interact with the metals. With careful handling and maintenance, your personalized coins will lose little of its value and may even appreciate as time passes by.
What really makes a coin great starts long before you get them in your hands. When a good-looking custom coin catches your eye, it is the result of expert design work by artists with years of training in graphic arts. Using the latest computer programs and actually being creative, custom military challenge coins are designed around the capabilities of the actual manufacturing process.
Get Your Free Coin Design And Quote Today
Top quality challenge coins are made by a process called “striking” – similar to that used to make currency coins. A base metal, which is normally brass, copper, or bronze, is “struck” by a die that is created from the artists rendering of your coin. It is this die that makes all the difference in the world when it comes to how good your coin looks.
Basically, our artists are not only showing you what your custom coins will look like once produced, but they are also constructing a template for the die to be created before your custom challenge coins go to mint. Without high quality artwork, you would never really know what your coins will turn out like! Despite what you may have heard elsewhere…artwork simply matters. A proof from one coin company that is very basic does nothing for the customer as far as confidence goes. At Challenge Coins Limited, our graphic designers have perfected their techniques to show you exactly what your coins will look like before you spend any money.
Would you order a car based on a half-hearted sketch of what it “may” turn out to look like once it hits the showroom? We didn’t think so.
We are often asked why we do so much work ahead of a customer placing an actual order with us. The answer is simple – customer satisfaction. There should be no surprises when that heavy box containing your challenge coins arrive. You have spent good money and trusted a company to produce something special for your military unit, sports team, club, or company presentation – and you want the best.
When comparing one challenge coin company to another, take a good hard look at the artwork they provided you. Which one looks like a “real” coin? I can’t tell you how many calls we get from people who have inquired with us and received their coin proof asking, “Did you guys already make the coin?!?!” The fact of the matter is our artwork blows the competition away…and that, ladies and gentlemen, translates into a great challenge coin.
Before you get excited about seeing artwork of your custom designed challenge coins from various companies, you have to realize that not all of them offer you free artwork. That’s right…they charge you for it. In some cases upwards of $175.00 upfront. Well….what if you don’t like the way your artwork looks? Remember – it is crucial that your artwork look spectacular to produce a quality piece. While we respect the way any company decides to run their operation, we don’t believe that this is the best practice to take with a custom product. Each and every coin inquiry we get receives free artwork with unlimited changes to your design until you are happy.
All About Military Challenge Coins
Military challenge coins are highly coveted by members of the military and their families. Our challenge coins start with amazing artwork, but they have so much more significance and a rich history beyond their well-designed appearance:
There are mixed accounts of how military challenge coins originated. Some say they go back fifty years while others say that they were important one hundred years ago during World War I when an American pilot escaped capture and elicited cooperation from a fellow Allied soldier by showing him a military challenge coin containing his unit’s insignia, which was the only possession he had left on his body.
What is known about military challenge coins is that they are presented to honor or commend a person for a unique service, mission, or accomplishment. Designs have evolved over the years as technology has so they often contain the logo or insignia of the group as well as inspirational words to commemorate what the honoree did to earn the coin.
They are most notably associated with the military; however, firefighters and other first responder organizations also use them. Even civilian organizations have gotten in on the act and have begun using these special commemorative items. US Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump have also issued similar coins to dignitaries and foreign diplomats.
Military challenge coins can represent many events including a specific achievement, a milestone (graduation or retirement), or an anniversary. The customized coin design further symbolizes and reinforces the brotherhood and service of its members. Unlike currency coins, military challenge coins can be multi-colored and have different shapes and sizes.
Military challenge coins are a long-standing tradition that will continue in the years to come with new customized coins courtesy of modern technology. At Challenge Coins Limited, we pride ourselves on the outstanding quality and striking appearance of our challenge coins. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation and see what we can do for your unit or group.
Challenge coins, once only give by the military, are now designed for other government agencies and for the private sector. The main use of these attractive medallions is for identification and awards. Also called honor coins, they boost morale in an organization when they are given to individuals or teams who have shown outstanding effort in their field.
Custom challenge coins are made for police and fire departments as well as emergency rescue units to honor the people who risk their lives in the line of duty. Military coins have much more meaning than merely an award. To the person who receives it, or to the family of a soldier killed in action, they represent a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice.
There are certain characteristics that challenge coins should have. First of all, it needs to have the name of the group, unit or company that is awarding the coin. The graphic or design should be attractive and, if possible, inspiring. The style, symbolism and theme should be unique. The color should be suitable for the purpose of the coin. Other considerations are whether a mascot, logo or motto should also be on the coin.
Custom challenge coins also represent strong ties between scout troops, school and college associations, religious groups as well as groups that join together to save the environment, beautify a city or promote literacy.
Challenge coins may be worn around the neck, but are generally not turned into paperweights or coffee mug decorations. Traditionally, they should always be kept with the recipient as a coin and shown to anyone who asks to see it. They can be kept in a pocket or purse but not left on a desk or dresser at home. Members of a group who carry challenge coins can challenge another member to show their coin.
Whether challenge coins are given for extraordinary military service or for recognition of a job beyond the expectations of leaders in the private sector, they represent a specific action or time in the recipient’s life. They are cherished as a representation of acknowledgment from superiors as well as proof of belonging to a distinguished group.
Challenge coins are important symbols of military pride that have a long standing tradition among the ranks. Each coin is distinct and carries the unit’s insignia or battle group. Custom challenge coins are used by the military and civic groups worldwide.
Collectors can make or purchase elaborate displays to show off their collections in the home or office as well. These displays are sometimes crafted from fine or rare woods that make the conversation piece two-fold.