Challenge Coins: More Than Just A Military Coin

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  • Challenge coins are another popular and valuable recognition tool in the military. These challenge coins are being given to every soldier in the US Air Force upon graduating from Basic Training. Also, those soldiers who have performed acts that merit recognition but are not remarkable enough to receive a medal are viable recipients. Challenge coins’ value may not equal the real medal, but troops take pride in their ownership nevertheless.
  • Aside from patches, owning challenge coins is one way of proving membership to a specific unit. An American soldier’s possession of challenge coins actually became his lifesaver during a rescue attempt. The coin has become his only form of identification which proved that he was a member of the American military forces.

    Today, challenge coins’ popularity “branched out “ to different areas of interest – clubs, athletics, corporate, law enforcement and hobby groups, to name a few. Thus, several businesses also sprouted, offering custom challenge coins made at any specifications. Common challenge coins are 1.5” in diameter and 2.9mm thick. The first step in ordering a custom challenge coin is to decide on the logo, text, or artwork to be done, including the colors. Next, the manufacturer shall create a digital proof, based on the specifications provided. If there are any revisions needed, alterations will be made until the customer approves the mock-up of the coin. After the dies are made, coin production shall begin.

    Custom challenge coins are typically made of bronze; the design may either be done chemically or laser etched. Customers can also choose between antique finished or polished. At times, the design and production process can become very sophisticated. Cloisonné coins are fired at 800-900 degrees after being stamped from copper and filled with colored enamel powder. It shall be smoothed, polished, and then plated with silver, gold, or platinum. To protect the coin’s surface, it may sometimes be coated in epoxy for a smooth finish. For those who prefer a lifelike detail and color design, the four color process is used. The only downside of the four color is that it may not be as durable as cloisonné coins.

    Most online stores offer design consultation, digital proofs, revisions, choice of enamel colors, and shipping for prospective customers.