3 Historical Facts to Know about Challenge Coins

Challenge coins have a rich history. They are tied to the military and used as a unique symbol to represent units, teams, organizations, and secret societies. That can also be used to commemorate anniversaries, a special event, or an achievement. For decades now, challenge coins have been known to build long-lasting bonds between individuals who receive them. Here are three historical facts about these coins if you want to learn more about the challenge coins.

History Huffs Love Challenge Coins

If you are a history buff or know a friend who enjoys digging deep into history, the subject of challenge coins can trigger an exciting conversation. Equally, if you’re a military campaign enthusiast, you probably know that these medallions have a long-standing history in the sector. The history of challenge coins links back to the Roman Empire. Essentially, they were given to soldiers after returning from a severe battle, representing achievement.

Later, the challenge coins were replaced with other signs and symbols and re-emerged during World War1, where the lieutenant transformed them and for his unit. The most exciting history of challenge coins is during the First World War, when a captured soldier produced his bronze coin to the American allies, allowing him to escape prosecution. The only identification the soldier had was his coin presented to him by his lieutenant. He narrowly escaped death from his own country’s ally forces. That’s how the name ‘challenge coin’ was born, making the pieces the most powerful symbol in wars.

Challenge Coins Commemorate Civilian Events

Challenge coins have significantly evolved, and they are no longer tied to conflict and war. Today, they are used in organizations to recognize achievements in the business landscape. Companies use them to appreciate best performing sales representatives and other awards. Furthermore, as the coins’ production cost decreased, they have been adopted in other non-formal events such as commemorating a family reunion or a stag trip.

Even in the military, the challenge coins’ original purpose isn’t recognized, at least, on many occasions. Today, the exchange of challenge coins is tied to social network events and camaraderie instead of their traditional identification purposes. However, some groups keep up with the drink-buying challenge. The world of challenge coins now include custom logos from corporations, social clubs, and organizations.

Challenge Coins Can be a Recruiting Tool in Organizations

Another fact about the challenge coins is that they can be used to recruit new members in the military and outside the service. They are presented during the handshake to welcome new members to join a group. These coins are a symbolic representation of outstanding achievements and alliances with new members joining a group in organizations. Typically, challenge coins are an excellent recruiting tool that can boost morale and identifies a newcomer as a part of the team.

These coins are widely used as rewards or motivational purposes, from secret societies to corporations, fire departments, and the military. For instance, if a company wants employees to work overtime during an important project, the obvious appreciation would be to pay overtime. However, an organization can go a notch higher and show extra care. They can honor the extra time spent in the office with a challenge coin.
This will make employees feel proud of and develop a sense of belonging to the company, boosting morale to greater heights. Ultimately, challenge departments and companies can use challenge coins as a recognition tool to make servicemen & women and employees feel more engaged and attached to their jobs. Although challenge coins were developed to identify and acknowledge the military service, they are used widely in civilian events for various occasions like recruitment and commemorations.



Alex is the co-author of 100 Greatest Plays, 100 Greatest Cricketers, 100 Greatest Films and 100 Greatest Moments. He has written for a wide variety of publications including The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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