Imagine you’ve been admitted into a club and you’ve finally passed the initiation process. And the reward is a medallion, but not just any kind of medallion.
What they give you is a challenge coin, a symbol of your achievement and determination to see the process through to the end. But what are challenge coins anyway?
If you are looking for an intriguing and storied way to symbolize your affiliations or memorialize your successes, here is why you should consider challenge coins.
What Is a Challenge Coin?
As its name suggests, a challenge coin is a coin but it has no monetary value. It’s specifically designed to instead represent a membership into a club, organization, or to recognize achievement.
They bear the emblems and/or insignias of the organization the person belongs to along with their mottos etched into the metal. The coins usually can fit into the palm of your hand.
The coins can also represent or commemorate special events, such as the hundredth anniversary of World War I or even the founding of your own club.
The Legend Behind Challenge Coins
The challenge coin’s history is murky, but it has its supposed roots in several things.
Rome often gave coins to soldiers in recognition of their acts of bravery or exemplar service, and allegedly these coins were used by the Huguenots in 17th century France.
The more modern origins of challenge coins supposedly date back to WWI. An American fighter pilot was given one by his lieutenant and was shot down behind enemy lines.
The Germans captured him, and they confiscated all his belongings except for his coin. He managed to escape to the French lines. But with no identification, they thought he was a saboteur and were intent on executing him.
He showed them his coin and luckily one of the French recognized the insignia and he was saved. Due to this, everyone in his squad was to permanently carry their challenge coins at all times.
These coins would not see regular usage until after World War II, but they would garner significant interest slowly even until the 2000s.
Uses in Modern Times
Luckily, these days many people who have challenge coins are not in such precarious positions, but many still carry the same importance.
Military personnel, active and non-active, often carry them, as well as other kinds of government personnel. Not to mention non-government or military-related organizations such as the Eagle Scouts.
If you’re considering getting challenge coins for your organization or group and you’re on the fence, there are several effective ways to use them.
Keep a Challenge Coin
Challenge coins are great ways to show your affiliation to a noble cause, commemorate a significant achievement in your life, or show your patriotism to your country.
The next time you start a club, remember to get them a challenge coin. Start the tradition, and eventually, everyone will know you and your crew.
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