What are military challenge coins ?
What are military challenge coins ?Today, the popularity of the challenge coin has evolved into more than just a mark of representation for military personnel. They are actively traded among active-duty, retired, and civilian personnel within government agencies. It has also become customary to present a challenge coin to dignitaries and special guests to certain locations as a sign of “welcome” and respect. Presidents William Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have minted challenge coins to present to White House guests and diplomats of foreign countries. The tradition has expanded to other countries as well, to include Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Over the years, military coins have evolved from seemingly simple designs to more complex and colorful varieties. This can mainly be attributed to the advances in manufacturing techniques that have been perfected over the years. One of the earliest challenge coins known to exist was a simple, die struck brass coin with a faint emblem and barely discernible text.
Modern coins are manufactured in a fashion that allows each to display 3-dimensional images that rival the detail found on actual currency. Virtually every element of a custom coin now can be tailored to suit individual preferences. Some of the more popular features of challenge coins made in the last ten years include numbering, specialty edging, and photographic inserts, which allow and actual picture to be affixed to one or both sides of a coin.
Throughout the career of an armed services member, he or she will have the potential to encounter and receive a substantial number of challenge coins. For example, the United States Air Force holds a coin ceremony for its cadets upon graduation, and for many Airmen, this is the first of many they will hold dear during their service term.
Major news agencies have recently covered the presentation of challenge coins by high ranking officials to war heroes upon their return from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such media awareness has helped to create an increasing popularity of these coins in venues beyond the military as well. Law Enforcement and Firefighter organizations have followed suit by distributing challenge coins to their staff for recognition and achievement purposes. Many have recognized that a small, personalized token can build unity among a team, which also promotes morale along the way.