Tips for Designing & Ordering Your Challenge Coins

Our graphics department is the core of what we do – designing and manufacturing great looking coins. We try our very best to get your coin design back to you as fast as possible. There are some things you can do to prepare our graphics staff so that your design shows up even quicker.

Images: Our challenge coin quote form allows for the upload of two images; one for the front of your coin, and one for the back. Try to make sure you send us the largest possible images so that we may extract the most detail from the image into your challenge coin design. If you have your artwork pre-drawn in vector or PDF format, this will greatly speed up the process. Extremely complicated challenge coins sometimes take up to 5 hours to compose (especially those with 3D requests). Vector artwork will drastically reduce this time.

3D: Many customers wish to have one or more elements of their custom coins manufactured using a 3D process. For this to be most successful, your image must be high resolution. Our 3D technique is unique to us – no other company renders 3D coins like we do, and while the process is very time consuming on our end, the end result is fantastic. Costs for advanced 3D imagery range from $100 per side and up.

An example of our 3D capability is below:
Tips for Ordering Custom Coins

Worth The Wait: An average design submitted to us for proofing takes about 2.5 hours of work from our graphics department. A challenge coin with 3D included takes up to 4 or more hours. With the amount of requests we receive every day from customers, we may not be the fastest to get your custom design back, but we are willing to bet our artwork is superior. If you are in a rush, please indicate this on your request submission, or give us a call, and we can prioritize your project accordingly. You may want to read “Superior Challenge Coins Start With Great Artwork” for even more information.

Bigger Really Can Be Better: If you are looking to get the absolute most detail possible into your coin, consider some of the larger sizes. We are often asked to cram an enormous amount of detail into a 1.50” coin. Although we usually come up with a solution by simplifying certain details, in the end most customers are much more satisfied if the coin has ALL of what they wanted to see. There are times when a coin has so many detailed “parts” to it, that a larger coin is warranted. For example, military ratings combined with one or more 3D images and/or seals with small wording. If in doubt, you can leave it up to us and we will make your custom coin artwork at the smallest possible size to accurately fit your wishes.

Options and Delivery: Need your coins fast? Here are a few examples of options that will slow the delivery of your coins: epoxy, silk screening, edge engraving or numbering, complicated color schemes, dual plating, specialty edging, hard enamel challenge coins and offset printed images.

As an illustration, the challenge coin on the left will deliver much quicker than the coin on the right. This is due to the many colors and small spaces on the right hand coin that must be hand filled at our factory.

Coin Delivery Comparison

Even Hollywood Likes Challenge Coins

Joe Mantegna Coin

We all know the popularity of custom challenge coins has literally exploded far from being used in the military, and those new reaches include Hollywood and well-known Stars. Joe Mantegna, Star of the CBS hit show “CRIMINAL MINDS” ordered personalized coins for distribution after years of receiving them from US troops during “Thank You” visits. He now intends to return the gesture and show his appreciation for their service.

Joe Mantegna’s coins feature his trademark character image with cigar in high polished gold finish. The other side of his coin depicts his Hollywood Star, which was presented on April 29, 2011 and was the 2,438th one like it to adorn the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Tony Award winning actor dedicated this accomplishment to the men and women in uniform.

Other Hollywood stars are bound to follow suit as appreciation for the Armed Forces and other notable causes are always a topic of gratitude among A-List celebrities.

Custom Coins With Sequential Numbering

Sometimes having a custom challenge coin design isn’t enough – why not add numbering to your order? Numbering your custom challenge coins adds exclusivity to your group at a small cost.

Challenge Coins with Sequential Numbering

Greg Rudolph ordered challenge coins for his archery club last week, and with the assistance of our expert coin designers, now presents each qualifying member his or her own numbered challenge coins.

Numbered Challenge Coins Pricing

Mr. Rudolph’s archery program requires each member to demonstrate a certain skill set in field archery over a year long period. After that year, members of his club that show exemplary archery skills are awarded with their very own SSAC Challenge Coins, including a unique number stamped into the face.

SSAC members can identify with future master archers through their challenge coins, and now identify themselves by the order number on each coin. The lower the number, the more senior the member.

Sequential numbering on personalized coins is nothing new, but it can add a unique identifier for your club or organization as it grows. Talk to the designers on staff today about numbering your custom coins. We can add numbering to either side, or the edge…the choice is up to you.

Challenge Coins Packaged Perfectly

Your military unit or corporate group has likely spent a significant amount of time working with a designer for your order of challenge coins. The artwork is exactly how you want it; you have selected a plating choice for your challenge coins that accents your design, and have even added sequential numbering to your coins. You are now prepared to take delivery of your coins, or are you?

If your military unit or organization is planning a formal presentation of coins, you may want to consider one of several unique options. You can order your custom coins delivered in the following:

-Velvet Challenge Coin Cases
-Clear Plastic Coin Cases
-Clear Plastic Coin Capsules
-Clear PVC Challenge Coins Envelope with Personalized message

Coin Presentation Options

Velvet cases are the most elaborate way to present your custom challenge coins to your troops during a ceremony. Each recipient will be proud to display their challenge coins in the home or office with these cases. Similar to the velvet boxes you see at the jewelry store, our cases are manufactured to fit your challenge coins perfectly.

Clear plastic challenge coins cases are a more economical way to protect and display your challenge coins. Each case comes with a clear top and black base section that allows the coin to be viewed while inside the case. Inside, a special velour insert is cut to shape and surrounds each challenge coin.

Most popular with challenge coins collectors are the clear coin capsules. These capsules are only slightly larger than each challenge coin and “snap” together around the coins. The beauty of each coin capsule is that you can still carry your challenge coins in your pocket with protection from scratching or other abuse.

Standard PVC envelopes are included with every order of challenge coins at no extra charge. Some groups like to have custom card stock printed and inserted into each PVC envelope to accompany the challenge coins. Such card stock can mark an event, date, accomplishment, logo or any combination you desire.

Challenge Coins Add Photo Flare

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.

Coins With Photo InsertsAn 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.

military challenge coins

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.

Edge Options With Challenge Coins

Reed EdgeCustom challenge coins can be manufactured with several different types of edging finishes to give your custom coins that unique and authentic look.

For example, take a look at a US Quarter- the reed edging you see can easily be added to your military challenge coins design for a nominal fee. As opposed to no edge finish, your custom challenge coins with such edging draw increased appeal and perceived value.

Challenge Coin Edge Options

Edge Options for Military Challenge Coins
Fire EMS Custom Coins

Other edges are available as well on your coins, as well as custom designed edges. Common additions to coin orders include the rope edge, diamond cut edge, or bevel edge. These types of edges are visible from either side, or face, of the challenge coin and add dimension to your design.

Pricing for such edging will range from no charge edges to .70 cents per coin for both sides, or .35 cents for a single side. The most popular free edging is called the rope edge, which is typically seen on many military coins. However, don’t let that stop you from adding your own choice of edging to your challenge coin design.

View examples of our edging on our website and learn how to create your very own challenge coins today. We truly enjoy working with the detail oriented members of our Military and provide services to all branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

Custom Challenge Coins: The Symbol of Strength and Power

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.

CWW Military Challenge Coin

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.

AF ROTCSuch 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 – All You Need To Know

Liberty Manor Challenge CoinCustom 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

Military Challenge Coins

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.

Custom Military Challenge Coin Bottle Openers

Military Challenge Coin Bottle Opener: A New Twist on a Classic Collectible

By now you probably know that custom challenge coins can be made in any form, shape, size or finish. Did you know that many of our custom coins are also minted as challenge coin bottle openers? As military challenge coins spread to more private applications – as giveaways, rewards, membership icons – our customers are looking for new and innovative ways to make their coins functional and unique. One way is to have a piece made that actually serves as a bottle opener. They are quite the conversation starter!

GTI Challenge Coin Bottle Opener

Our artists are highly trained – not only in design – but the actual mechanics of what makes a challenge coin bottle opener function. We have seen too many times companies attempt to manufacture a custom coin bottle opener using improper design specifications. A likeness would be making a tool which is flawed in design and doesn’t do the job its intended to do. Many factors come into play with such custom pieces, including bevel, thickness and opening width.

Military Challenge Coin Bottle Openers

With all this in mind, our customers know that Challenge Coins Limited is an industry leader in custom coins – to include special function items like bottle openers. We take your logo and form it into a coin that will open any bottle, any time, over and over again without fail. Some people don’t actually use their coins to crack open a beer, but simply as a display piece – and that’s fine too…but you can rest assured that it will do its intended job if called upon.

Custom Bottle Opener CoinAntique Silver Plated Bottle Opener Challenge Coin

We can produce as little as fifty (50) custom challenge coin bottle openers at your request. We offer completely free design work before you pay us a single penny. We want you to be ecstatic with your coins before you submit payment…it’s just how we do things. Our team of six expert artists collaborates on a regular basis to offer our customers the latest in design trends and techniques. What this all means to you is once your coins arrive, your smile will be as wide as the State of Texas.

Challenge coins are an inspired way to show unity and pride in your military unit. It’s been a tradition in the Armed Forces to give service members challenge coins as consideration for a job well done. It’s an honor to receive a challenge coin, especially when it comes from a respected leader. With these ingenious custom bottle openers, we give you a handy new alternative to the standard challenge coin!

Many people collect challenge coins for their historical value, personal meaning, and interesting designs. Challenge coins can be displayed on the wall or in a showcase, but that can make them a little difficult to show off.

Our high-quality challenge coin bottle openers, on the other hand, are an exciting way to show your pride. They are durable and designed with both style and functionality in mind, while still honoring the challenge coin tradition.

These custom challenge coin bottle openers are a high quality collectible that can be used every day. They not only intriguing to look at and easy to use, but they are also an amazing keepsake and conversation starter. Our bottle openers can be made for any branch of the United States Armed Forces, group or occasion. And we can produce as few as 50 custom bottle openers per design, making it a great keepsake for any size group or unit.

Just let us know what you need and what you have in mind, and we’ll get started on the design process. Contact us today at 1-800-818-3229 – we make ordering challenge coins of ANY type very easy.

Superior Military Challenge Coins Start With Great Artwork

Military Challenge Coin Discounts

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.

411th Military Police Company Coins
Challenge Coin Bottle Opener
Helicopter Challenge Coins
Leavenworth Excellence Coins
Military Command Coins 2

3D Challenge Coins

Coin Designs US Army

Get Your Free Coin Design And Quote Today

Liberty Manor Challenge Coin

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.

Military Coins

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.

Hawaii US Custom CoinsWhen 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.

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