Your Complete Guide to Custom Challenge Coins

Your Complete Guide to Custom Challenge Coins

Would you like to make a unique impression in your organization? Read on to learn more about challenge coins and how you can use them to reward and motivate people.

Have you ever heard of a challenge coin? Yes, it’s a coin. Its history and what it represents runs deep within the military. It’s meant to signify a special event, or a job well done.

Today, custom challenge coins are also popular outside of the military for many reasons. For example, organizations know if they want their team members to be happy, those team members need to feel valued. Challenge coins are a way to show appreciation for a job well done, no matter whether you have a nonprofit group, a company or any other organization.

Would you like to make a unique impression in your organization? Read on to learn more about challenge coins and how you can use them to reward and motivate people.

A Brief History of Custom Challenge Coins

How challenge coins began really depends on who you talk to. Everyone seems to have a different opinion about the roots of challenge coins.

Here’s what we know for sure. Going back to Roman times, member of the Roman military were paid in coins. Most of the coins there had the name or image of the Roman emperor, but there were some coins that had different legions on them. Those coins were believed to have been used to reward soldiers for a great job in a battle against enemy forces.

Fighter Pilots in World War I

Another common story, likely apocryphal, traces the roots of custom challenge coins to World War I. It tells the tale of a well-to-do American lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. As legend has it, he had custom coins made for each member of his squadron that bore the unit’s insignia. One of the pilots later was shot down, and the pilot was taken prisoner by German forces.

The Germans took his belongings and all identification. But they left the coin, which he carried in a pouch around his neck. The pilot managed to escape the Germans to French-occupied territory. The French soldiers took him to be a German spy and prepared to execute him.

When he showed his coin to the French soldiers, one of them recognized the insignia and they spared his life. The French later returned him safely to his unit. Since that time, custom coins have been carried by U.S. armed forces members.

Modern Challenge Coins

In more modern times, challenge coins were used by military units as a way to show a job well done and increase camaraderie. First responder teams such as fire, police and emergency medical departments have adopted challenge coins as well, as a way to show appreciation for a great job.

Over the last 20 years, presidents have had their own challenge coins, too. The current president has given the coin a slight makeover.

Custom challenge coins also are used outside of military and government organizations. Many businesses are jumping on board custom challenge coins to create a memorable impression among employees and potential customers.

What Can Custom Challenge Coins Do For Your Organization?

How can you use challenge coins in your organization? You’re limited only by your imagination.

Present challenge coins to employees to show appreciation when they finish a major project or make a big contribution to your business. Give them to reward a team that worked tirelessly together on a project.

You can use them as marketing tools outside of your organization, too. Give away challenge coins to show appreciation to your top customers and business partners as a way to thank them for their loyalty. Challenge coins imprinted with your product, name or logo can even create a positive impression of your company and build brand awareness.

Coins make great giveaways before a product launch, or as part of an online contest where winners receive an exclusive coin. With this type of application, you stay with the true intent and tradition of challenge coins. Challenge coins are special tokens that are earned.

How to Create Custom Challenge Coins

Are you convinced that you can make an impact by using custom challenge coins? Here are some pointers to help you create a design that makes a great impression.


Do you want your coin recipients to have something that they can easily keep in their pocket as a reminder of your appreciation? Or would you rather go for an alternative that is larger and for display purposes?

Coin sizes typically range from 1.5” to 3.”  You may find yourself in a situation where you want something that people can easily carry in their pocket, but the design is big and requires a larger coin. That’s where a dependable coin provider such as Lapel Pin Superstore can help you craft your design.

Colors and Graphics

When it comes to colors and graphics, keeping things simple is a good guideline. You might decide that a logo and a small amount of text are the only things necessary.

Remember that you’re working with a relatively small space and making it too busy can detract from the significance of the coin. In the case of a challenge coin, simplicity rules the day for maximum impact. Your coin provider can advise you on what will work best for your needs.

Challenge Coins for Every Organization and Occasion

If you want to create a great impression about your organization, custom challenge coins are the way to go. Challenge coins are unique and borrow from the best military traditions to inspire people from all walks of life. They can bring people together in a way that is hard to do with words alone.

Custom challenge coins are a symbol of great work and appreciation. Are you ready to get challenge coins for your organization? Contact us for a free quote today! 

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