Custom Your Challenge Coins
Challenge coins have always had honorable origins. However, the advancement of manufacturing processes and technology has vastly improved how challenge coins are made. In turn, they can be mass produced for more than just military organizations.
For this reason, cheap challenge coins are becoming unique trinkets for just about any person or organization. No matter what narrative they are in, however, they continue to share a message of allegiance and unity.
What Is A Challenge Coin?
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A challenge coin is a palm-sized, specially-designed coin. It is usually given to individuals to mark their membership or celebrate an accomplishment.
Traditionally, it carries the emblem or insignia of the organization it represents. The motto of the organization or other sayings may decorate the edge of the coin. They also feature painted enamel for unique, customized designs.
Challenge coins are typically 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter and 1/10 inches in thickness.
A challenge coin is usually circular or round. However, they can also be made into pentagons, dog tags or other cutout shapes. Some coin designs have included the novelty of doubling as a bottle opener.
Different metals are also used to make challenge coins. Typical cheap challenge coins come in bronze, nickel, copper or brass. However, there are some expensive versions that come in 24-karat gold.
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What Is the History of Challenge Coins?
Challenge coins symbolize unity. Whether it is a team or organization, challenge coins establish a sense of camaraderie and loyalty between members. However, they also carry with them a commemorative and celebratory quality.
It was actually the military that established the use of challenge coins. Military members used the coins to prove their loyalty during challenging times. Hence, the name: challenge coins.
The tradition of military challenge coins is still up for debate. Some say the use of challenge coins started in World War II.
The story goes that an American lieutenant gave his unit members bronze challenge coins before deployment. One of the airmen was captured by the Germans but escaped to a French outpost.
He presented the coin to show his allegiance to the U.S. It saved his life and earned him a bottle of wine.
Another competing theory is that Vietnam soldiers used challenge coins as part of their “entry fee” into a bar.
Regardless of which story is true, the alcohol seems to be the constant. Even today, military members use their challenge coins at bars to determine who is buying drinks.
How Are Military Challenge Coins Used?
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In the military, challenge coins can represent military divisions, special units and groups, or even special missions. Challenge coins even have a place among top ranking military leaders.
High-ranking government figures also carry challenge coins of their own. Every U.S. president since Clinton has commissioned their own challenge coins for a variety of reasons.
President George W. Bush gave challenge coins to soldiers returning from the Middle East. President Barack Obama often gave challenge coins to employees of Air Force One.
In 2011, the Secretary of Defense gave troops copies of his own challenge coin to express his gratitude.
Service members are known to collect their challenge coins and display them with pride. It is a great way for them to look back on their achievements.
Do Other Types of Challenge Coins Exist?
Fortunately, thanks to the rise in custom coin design companies, the use of challenge coins has grown. It no longer belongs only to the military. Nor does it belong just to high-ranking government officials.
Rather, they have become an all-around symbol of unity, pride, and loyalty that just about anyone can use. Whether you are a civilian, organization, or military official, a challenge coin can mean something to you.
First-Responders & Goverment Agencies
Similar to the military, challenge coins can also honor the service of first-responders. In particular, they have been a sign of gratitude in times of natural disasters and tragedies. After the 2017 hurricanes in Texas and Puerto Rico, the EPA had challenge coins commissioned to thank first responders.
Secret service agents are also known to own their own challenge coins. Some White House Military Aides, who carry the nuclear footbal, carry football-shaped challenge coins. Even the president’s valets carry their own challenge coins.
Senators and secretaries to tranportation and agriculture have also commissioned challenge coins. In some ways, it is a show of support for the military. In other ways, they are used like upgraded business cards or autographs in Washington.
Challenge Coins Are Great for Rewards
Challenge coins have made their way into the business world. Primarily, they have been used to improve high employee morale and recognize team accomplishments.
It is far different than your typical plaque or trophy. However, if you take the time to customize the coins, your employees will feel more valued than before.
Managers have also used cheap custom challenge coins as incentives in team building exercises. When employees complete a certain challenge, they can earn a challenge coin. In turn, the coin can be used like currency to pay for other office perks.
Employees can also trade them with one another. They can be for an office challenge or they can be given in the spirit of appreciation. As in, employees can gift challenge coins to co-workers who have gone above and beyond.
Use Challenge Coins for Corporate Branding
Nowadays, companies have taken branding very seriously. Branding is essential to setting their company apart from competition. In addition to company merchandise, custom challenge coins can make a company’s name, logo or brand memorable.
Rather than use buttons, why not hand out challenge coins instead. Naturally, they are sturdier and far more dynamic to look at and hold. Things that have weight and texture are likely to keep people’s attention more than anything.
Companies have been using small batch challenge coins to hand out at conferences and sales events. Not only is it a unique way to introduce yourself, it is less likely to get thrown away. A well-designed challenge coin with their logo has definitely proved more effective than a business card.
And its not just corporations using cheap challenge coins for branding. Sports teams and schools are joining the trend by putting their mascots on challenge coins. They are a fantastic way to raise money and support for your team or school.
Start A Collection with Challenge Coins
If people collect regular coins, people can collect challenge coins. Their classic, high-quality appearance and vibrant history make them ideal collectibles.
Some people just want the coins to trade back and forth with colleagues. Other really just appreciate the artistic value of the challenge coins.
If you have war history or miltary fanatic in your life, they are sure to appreciate a military challenge coin.
Challenge coins can also be the new baseball cards. Instead of cards, collect challenge coins for your favorite teams. You can even trade them with other collectors and build a network with your fellow fans.
Moreover, the challenge coins look mighty impressive lined up in a shadow box frame. They look classy and last a lifetime. They could even be passed on to young generations to share one’s passions and interests.
Create Bonds and Connections with Challenge Coins
While their use has evolved, challenge coins still represents creating strong bonds and relationships. Challenge coins keep members of the military connected to one another even after retirement.
In the same way, they can be gifted to veterans as a sign of gratitude. It might not have the same value as a presidential challenge coin. However, the detail and though thtat goes into a challenge coin says thank you like nothing else.
For first responders, they serve as a reminder of the disasters they have survived toogether. They tie members together by the honor of their service and sacrifice.
For corporate teams and employees, sharing challenge coins creates appreciation for one another. It builds a sense of belonging.
This is why it is also commonly used by civic organizations like the Boy Scouts. Even Harley Davidson riders use challenge coins to honor their organization.
How Are Challenge Coins Made?
Casting is done by filling a mold with a molten hot metal. As the liquid metal cools, it forms to the dimensions and details of the mold cavity.
A more updated version of casting, known as die-casting, uses a more modern approach. In die-casting, the mold cavity is actually made up of two hollowed out dies that join together. Then, heated material is forced into the mold under immense pressure until it emerges in the desired shape.
Blacksmiths once used the process of constantly reheating and hammering out metals to make tools. Die-struck coins are made in nearly the same way.
However, instead of manually hammering, most manufacturers simply stamp a piece of metal with the dies. Unlike die-casting, you do not have to handle molten metals. You also do not have to wait for it to cool.
Other manufacturers have also stepped further towards modern technology and use laser engraving and cutting.
Can You Customize A Challenge Coin?
Challenge coins have become quite a varied market in itself. For this reason, many manufacturers offer pre-designed challenge coins and cheap custom challenge coins. When it comes to customizing your own coins, the possibilities are endless.
Like we mentioned, you can get challenge coins in their standard round shape. But due to the die-casting and striking methods, you can get coins in a variety of shapes and forms. If you want a coin in the shape of Air Force wings or in the shape of a shield, it is more than possible.
The very same can be said about the design and colors of the challenge coin. They are both completely up to you. Whatever sayings, symbols, or images you want, you can do.
Or, if you have an artistic hand, you can draw the design out yourself. No matter what design you choose, it is important to ask for proofs before you finalize your order.
Sometimes, if you get too detailed with your design, really small details can get lost in the mold. A proof will show you what your deisgn will look like and let you know if you need to change anything accordingly.
How Much Do Challenge Coins Cost?
Challenge coins should not feel cheap. As precious keepsakes, they should look and feel valuable. However, ideally, they should be affordable.
In the military, they actually have booster clubs that will raise money just for challenge coins. Fortunately, modern technology and computers have made the entire process cheaper for you to just do it yourself.
Cheap challenge coins are now more common.
Some standard custom challenge coins cost around $5-$10. Although, this varies with the coin manufacturer and design elements.
When looking for cheap challenge coins, there are ways you can shave down the overall price for yourself. Specifically, there are two ways you can reduce the price of your cheap challenge coins without losing value.
First, you should try to find a manufacturer that does not charge you for designs and revisions. This way you can make as many changes as you want in your overall design without extra charges. So, when you finalize your design, it is exactly as you like it.
Second, you should try to use manufacturers that offer free shipping. You should really put your money toward designing the coin, rather than shipping.
Overall, pricing varies with the design and materials.
Where Do You Find Cheap Challenge Coins?
There is a wide variety of places you can buy cheap challenge coins. You can find some pre-designed military challenge coins from local military surplus stores. Local graphic designers or trophy manufacturers could also help you find affordable challenge coins.
You can also try Amazon and eBay. These online marketplaces might be more useful in find used, vintage or antique collectible coins.
If you want new coins or customized coins, there are many online manufacturers who can help you find cheap custom challenge coins.
There are a variety of coin producers out there. However, if you want the best value for cheap challenge coins, it is best to do some research.
What to Look for In A Challenge Coin Manufacturer
There are some qualities to look for in a challenge coin manufacturer.
We already mentioned above that you should find a manufacturer with free shipping and allows free design revisions. In addition, you should also find a manufacturer who sells custom challenge coins no minimum order.
This means they do not require you to buy a minimum amount of coins to order from them. With a custom challenge coins, no minimum option, you can order one personalized coin if that is all you need.
If you need a custom challenge coins small quantity, many manufacturers can still deliver high quality coins in small batches. However, some manufacturers will charge more for challenge coins for less quantity.
In addition, manufacturers that are flexible and have variety are ideal. When you look into manufacturers, see what types of metals they use. What finishes do they offer?
On top of all that, see if they are willing to match competitor prices and talk about guarantees with them. If they are wililng to cover damages or defects without additional cause, they are worth working with.
The manufacturer should be able to create cheap challenge coins at the same quality as expensive producers.
Now you know the value of challenge coins. With their timeless appearnce, they can tell a wide variety of stories. From soldiers to corporate branding, cheap challenge coins are a subtle way to honor someone and their work.
And with the number of manufacturers out there, having high-quality cheap challenge coins is at your fingertips. Challenge coins let you express your creativity and gratitude in a small but effective way. With challenge coins, you will always get a sense of pride and honor.
I hope this article was helpful to in your search for challenge coins. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them with us!