Challenge Coins Rescue
Challenge coins are a long standing tradition that started in the military and have spread to almost every branch of the government. These challenge coins are a highly collectable commodity right now. Depending on their age and from what branch of service they are from, they can be extremely rare and worth much more then the metal then they are made of. To just say a challenge coin is just a collectable item is to ignore all the history and traditions surrounding it though.
Challenge coins have been a military tradition in use since World War I. Starting when a U.S. pilot was shot down over enemy territory, military challenge coins were a symbol of what unit a soldier belonged to. By the Vietnam War, these challenge coins were in mass use by commanders to help create unit cohesion. They were there to act as a sort of common factor in a unit and give some common ground to the men. Any way to create cohesion among a unit will always increase each mans chances to survive the war.
Challenge coins create cohesion in more ways then just giving a group of soldiers a coin. They earned the named challenge coins during the Vietnam War as well because they were used to issue challenges to members of a unit while drinking. The challenger would demand everybody show their coin and if somebody didn’t have it, they were forced to buy the next round of drinks. If everybody did have it then the challenger had to buy the next round.
Challenge coins have spread out to every single military branch and even out to non military organizations of the government. Some of the most collectible challenge coins are the U.S. Coast Guard coins. These coins were almost made just to be collectible items because they were made at a much later date. The U.S. Coast Guard also is not the most thought of military branch so these coins are a bit rarer then others. Since the Coast Guard is not thought of as a really unit driven force, these coins are not really sought after as something that was used for an actual fighting unit.
How these challenge coins differ then from other military branches is that they are assigned by rank and ship. There are coins for a Senior Chief Petty Officer or another rank of officer. The most collectible are going to be the ship specific challenge coins. These are basically the same thing as a unit specific challenge coin by tying a group of sailors together by the ship. Then there is the much more general “Coast Guard Racing to the Rescue” coin which looks much more like global coin for the entire Coast Guard.
A challenge coin is something that will tie someone with a group of soldiers for their entire life. While they are highly collectible, they mean so much more to the original owner of the coin. These challenge coins are one of the many pieces of military history out there that should always be seen as a real memento of what it is to be a soldier.