Challenge Coins – What Do They Mean?

Challenge coins exist for branches of the military as well as other organizations. The most common are made for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air force and Marines. The belief is that challenge coin originated with the Army Air squadron during World War I. Since that time the coin has been used for many purposes.

Giving the Challenge Coin

Law enforcement uses the coins and each one is different. They are designed for the purpose they will be given. Often they are given as a symbol of outstanding bravery in the face of danger. Although the original coins were given as a symbol of the brotherhood of the men receiving them, they can be used for just about any purpose.

Fire departments, Department of Defense and collectors buy these coins. For many organizations they are just given to show you are a member. They are also collected by those who like the coins and want to see how many they can collect. Often these are the ones that just cost a few dollars, but the meaning behind the origination of challenge coins is what is priceless.

Collecting the Challenge Coin

If you are a collector of the older coins you will want to set up a display case so you can look at them. Handling them too much may scratch or otherwise damage them. By keeping them in a display they can be enjoyed.

Collecting different ones from military and other service-related organizations allows the coins to be preserved for future generations. As the meaning of the challenge coin is handed down through the years, the younger family members of those serving their country will learn the pride behind the challenge coin.

Honoring Service

There are many members of servicemen and women’s families today who wear necklaces made with challenge coins as a way of honoring their family members for the service they are providing. The necklaces are worn with pride and as a way of showing they are keeping their loved ones close to their heart while awaiting their return.

Some may have challenge coins made to honor the family members who have lost their life in service to their country. Since there are so many being made today, you can find ones with great detail and made of many different materials.

Many fire departments, emergency medical services and other related fields are giving these to their members in honor of the service they provide to the public. The value of the challenge coin is often not measured in the price. It is measured in the meaning for those who receive them.

When a member of the military receives one of these coins, they know the meaning is far more than they could ever explain. In addition to the camaraderie felt by those serving, the pride and sense of honor they feel as a part of the military is something they could never make others understand. The challenge coins just reinforce these feelings.


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