In human culture, there are a lot of ways to reward an individual (or a group of individuals) for completing a certain criterion, such as completing a task with utter efficiency, being a member of an organization for a specific set of years, being a member of a detailed rank, and many more. Medals, trophies, and certificates are often the biggest choices that weigh into this category. Perhaps one of the most iconic ways to reward someone is to give custom military coins, but what exactly are these coins?
Custom military coins, or challenge coins, are special types of tokens that are often recognized to possess a certain logo or trademark in their design. To begin with, they cannot be used as currency; they do not border along the economics area. Their main use is to reward someone or to serve as a form of identification.
These challenge coins are used for military purposes. An example would be a challenge coin representing a specific platoon, troop, unit, or battalion. Custom military coins that are specially designed can also be granted to units or troops that have achieved exemplary performance in trainings or practical tasks. In military cases, challenge coins are often used for identification purposes, especially during the occurrences of wars.
They are most famous for not being limited to the traditional round shape. Being completely customizable, these coins can be shaped to however clients want. They can be molded into the shape of a distinct country, a preferred object, body parts such as a welcoming hand, and much more. The materials used to make it can also be altered, ranging from real gold to merely pewter. The engravings on the challenge coin itself that will display the client’s logo, insignia, or trademark can also be designed extravagantly for more emphasis, such as alteration of color, variation of materials, utilization of objects that stand out, and a whole lot more.
Custom military coins, on the other hand, aren’t as free to its design. Military agencies often prefer a uniform design over all of its challenge coins. The most common shape for military challenge coins is round, promoting an original selection for simplicity along with a sense of professionalism. They also tend to possess similar features with other military challenge coins, such as the insignia of the country they are representing, alongside the features that vary.
During wars, military challenge coins were mostly used for identification. During sieges, it was common for individual units to stray from their base or their paths and end up in unfamiliar lands. Most of the time, these aforementioned lost units are caught by the opposition and are kept in prison or camps. If by any chance these units are able to escape, it is most likely for them to be unrecognizable by their allies upon their return to their home base and will therefore be subject to unreliable imprisonment or execution. This is where military challenge coins come into play.
Military challenge coins were often distributed to soldiers for identification. Soldiers were tasked to put the coin in a pouch that hung near their necks for easy access. This way, stray soldiers, when asked to identify themselves and prove that they are not facets of espionage, can prove their identity and therefore be granted access into their allied facilities.
Another important event that military challenge coins are involved in is “challenging,” which is also where it got its name. If a soldier “challenges” other soldiers, the other soldiers must present their military challenge coins. If ever one of them fails to do so (for any reason, such as missing coins), that soldier is required to buy all of the participants, including the challenger, drinks. If by ever no one fails to do so, the challenger is required to buy everybody drinks.
Benefiting soldiers for their identification as well as promoting morale across the years, custom military coins are definitely neat contributions to human culture.