The Many Shapes and Sizes of Custom Challenge Coins
Challenge coins are coin-like, round medallions which were first given to the Army Air Corp, a pre-existing version of the United States Air Force. Challenge coins were first designed and distributed sometime around World War I.
Challenge coins are a great keepsake item and are now used for many different forms of military service and also for private companies. Each represents a reward for a job well done or a specific challenge performed.
Custom challenge coins can be made in many different shapes and sizes, and have different weights. Some are colorized on the front and can be made to show a particular image which is representative of an organization. They often feature custom-made artwork and can even be made in varying styles such as a dog tag, which was the style of choice for the custom military coins made for the Operation Iraqi Freedom VII 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment. It had a pendant shaped design, which is unique among challenge coins. Shields are also popular as designs and so are different styles of crosses. For example, the Maltese Cross and the Iron Cross are often used in challenge coin designs. Most challenge coins are about 1.56” in diameter, but diameters of 1.75″ and 2″ are also popular.
Challenge coins can be made in fine detail, allowing the maker to put a lot of information in small print on the coin if he or she chooses. Many emblems, including flags, can go on challenge coins, or they can be quite simple in design. Stars, crests, and wings are among the many options for challenge coin designs.
Each branch of military service has different forms of military coins, differing from each other greatly. Other organizations which distribute custom challenge coins include the National Association of Buffalo Soldiers and Troopers Motorcycle Club and the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Club. The Canadian military has recently started issuing them to their soldiers as well. Local police and fire departments in different U.S. states have issued them to their members, and so have many private companies. It is a great way of commemorating service, or time spent in a particular organization. The shape of the coin can easily reflect the type of organization it is made for.
Challenge coins come in many shapes, sizes, and with different logos, but are each symbolic of service to a particular organization. Collecting them is a unique and enjoyable experience.