Beyond Medals: The Timeless Tradition of Custom Challenge Coins


You might have heard about a member of the military getting a challenge coin and are wondering more about what it stands for. This tradition of giving challenge coins dates back to World War I, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Here are some interesting things you might not have known about these.

They Can Commemorate Certain Military Units

Did a relative serve in a certain unit in the military? This challenge coin might have been created to help commemorate the time they spent together. It’s something that can evoke memories for the recipient each time they look at it. They might remember a funny thing that happened at inspection or when they were out in the field doing patrols. It might also be a reminder of a former unit member who has passed on.

They Can Commemorate Certain Events

People can get a custom challenge coin for something that happened historically while they are in the military. It might have been a particularly noteworthy one and the members of that certain unit or even the leadership wanted to show that they remembered what happened.

They Can Be Used to Prove Loyalty

This is one use for it that can be a bit more pressure-packed. The people who had these coins would have to show them to others to demonstrate that they believed in the cause of their unit. In the past, these were also known as portrait medals and they dated back as far as the Renaissance.

Ultimately, the purpose behind a custom challenge coin was to both boost the morale of the people who got them and also bring the whole unit together as a cohesive group. This was something that would make them a true “Band of Brothers.” Medals could be awarded and they would mean something, but these unique coins transcended that and became a valued keepsake.

Probably the best thing about these challenge coins is that there’s often a really interesting tale behind their creation. If you ask a veteran or current member about the history behind a custom challenge coin, you will likely hear a fascinating story. Another great reason for them to be made!

Are you interested in learning more about a custom challenge coin? The Emblem Authority can take your sketches, ideas, and designs to create a beautiful, unique custom challenge coin.