What’s the purpose of a Challenge Coin? 6 reasons why people carry them

Challenge coins have a long history within the armed forces and beyond. This is why service people, the emergency services, and cadets carry them and the significance they have.

To prove identity and connection

In both the British and international armed forces, challenge coins have been used to prove allegiance. One famous story dating back to World War I tells the tale of a British soldier captured in Germany who managed to escape to France and prove he was an ally with a challenge coin he was awarded by his commanding officer. This reportedly started a trend for pilots carrying challenge coins in case of capture.

Many of our challenge coins are designed for specific units, battalions, vessels, and roles, making them unique and significant.

To recognise achievement and sacrifice

Everyone in the armed forces commits a significant amount of time and effort to their role, and sometimes even their lives. Coins can mark commitment and dedication to a particular task, operation, or role, helping the individual to remember their achievements and the achievements of their colleagues. This isn’t exclusively for the armed forces either. The Challenge Coins UK team recently created coins for NHS staff to thank them for their role as key workers and their hard work and sacrifice during the pandemic.

To commemorate and remember

The armed forces have a rich history all over the world. Some coins commemorate this history, marking significant battles, deployments, operations, and anniversaries. Challenge coins can become collectors’ items and form part of people’s personal history, so the coins we create today could have major significance in the future.

To boost morale

Coins can perform an important function in terms of camaraderie and morale. Awarding coins to a unit or battalion helps to forge lifetime relationships and connection between them, particularly after a difficult experience or when they have an especially tough or dangerous job to do. For example, we’ve created several coins for rehabilitation centres that specialise in helping injured service people back into their roles.

To give to the next generation

Challenge coins are awarded to cadets just like professional, adult members of the armed forces and emergency services. The coins recognise their completed training, commitment, and achievements, as well as helping them feel connected to the organisation they could go on to become a lifetime member of.

To swap with other service people

As well as being used to recognise fellow service people, coins are often swapped internationally when people are on deployment in another country. Former serviceman Tom Newey created Challenge Coins UK in 2017 while on exercise in Southern California. Tom was given his first coin by a US Navy Blue Angels display team technician and felt his unit needed a coin to swap in return. An initial batch of coins were made and sold in under two weeks!

Start designing your challenge coin today

Challenge Coins UK is veteran-owned and can design and manufacture bespoke challenge coins for any military unit or branch of the armed forces. To start designing your unit’s challenge coin just tell us what you want your design to include and we’ll provide a quote and timescale.

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