Iraq War veteran, Jesse Medford, has taken challenge coins to another level by creating the first official challenge coin association. The Challenge Coin Association was established in 2006 after Jesse returned home from serving in the Middle East. The 34-year-old war veteran served in the 102nd Field Artillery, and like many military service men and women, received military challenge coins throughout his time in the service. By the end of his tour, he had an extensive collection of custom designed challenge coins.
When Jesse returned from his military service, he was a hero with a passion for a unique hobby. He wanted to continue collecting challenge coins, but was uncertain as to how he could find other enthusiasts. He soon discovered that the hobby had grown in popularity. Collecting challenge coins was no longer a hobby strictly enjoyed by military service people; rather, it had grown into a massive popular hobby nationwide. It was clear there needed to be some kind of organization to help challenge coin collectors meet. This was the beginning of the Challenge Coin Association.
The CCA is considered an exonumia organization. This means that it is recognized as a club or organization that deals in numismatic items, such as tokens or medals. The CCA currently has 700 registered members and is closely affiliated with American Numismatic Association. The CCA’s recognition from a prestigious coin organization like the ANA shows Jesse Medford created something long needed in the numismatic community.
Challenge coins have become something of a craze in the coin-collecting world. Originally military service people received them during their time in the U.S. military. They would hold on to these coins as tokens or mementos of their service. Some traded them, while others passed them down to family members. However, within the past ten years, people from all walks of life have had them customized and used challenge coins for different purposes.
Challenge coins have been given as gifts by U.S. Presidents like George Bush and Barack Obama. They have handed these coins out to military service people, as well as average American citizens as a way to show their appreciation for the work and support of average American citizens. Other organizations collecting these coins include the police department and fire department. In fact, professional poker players now use challenge coins as cardholders.
The CCA is growing every day. It has forums on MySpace, Google, and Yahoo. Collectors meet in these chat rooms and discuss topics related to challenge coins. They also go to virtual meet-ups to trade their coins with one another. One of the great parts about the CCA is anyone can join.
Membership into the CCA is a free and easy process. Jesse has created an official website for the organization where you can sign up and become a member. Once you are a member, you receive a free newsletter and access to trade links where other collectors look for people to trade their challenge coins.
With the growing number of challenge coin collectors, the Challenge Coin Association will only continue to expand. The possibilities are endless. Over time, Jesse Medford’s hobby may become one of the world’s most recognized authorities on exonumia. Time will only tell. However, one thing is for sure, people love challenge coins, and thanks to the ingenuity of Iraq War veteran, Jesse Medford, people can share their passion for this hobby in a fun and organized way.