How Did Challenge Coin Tradition Begin


Awarding officials for their diehard performances is not a new tradition. Over centuries, officials have been awarded in different regions with some awards. One is the challenge coin, which people speculate was awarded during World War I. 


But it is older than this period. Challenge coin is famous for its glamorous look. It serves as an excellent reward for brave soldiers or officials. Today, we will dig into the history of the challenge coin. Also, deep dive into its origin and current situation in our lives.

History of Challenge Coin: When did it start?

Armies or defense officials show off their cavalry during war situations. Sometimes, they exhibit excellent resistance to evil forces. Governments started a new system to award the challenge coin. It began during the Roman Empire and upholds a long history.

Let’s discuss its evolution through different reigns!

Rise in the Roman Times

Most historians relate the challenge coin to ancient Rome. During that time, manufacturers impressed such coins with legion’s insignia. Whoever exhibited bravery during the war was rewarded with this type of coin.

Over the period, it remained as a medium for praising outstanding warriors.

Beginning during World War I 

personal challenge coins

During World War I, there was a rebirth of the challenge coins. Here is the background story of an American lieutenant!

During World War I, an American aviator used the first challenge coin to prove his identity in front of the French army. In actuality, the Germans shot down the aviator’s plane and captured him. However, he escaped successfully but was caught by the French army. The army considered him a spy, but he had his medallion. After showing his medal to the French army, he was successfully spared.

That was the first time a medal got a reputation and became a life savior. It was even the first adventure that boosted the value of the medal.


Journey through Second World War II

create a challenge coin

The concept of featuring medals caught fire at different times. After World War I, it started as an honor.

But during the world war II, it has commenced its adventure as:

  • CIA adoption as an identity. For the first time, CIA agents used the challenge coin to prove their identity during the secret missions. It helped them successfully do their job and eliminate any hurdles.
  • Growth during the Korean War. It was another boost to the challenge coin. Colonel ‘Buffalo Bill’ Quinn provided the challenge coin concept to keep his squad organized. On one side, it had a buffalo carved, while on the other end, it contained the Korean with the dates. This tour marked the growth period of the challenge coin.
  • The Vietnam War marks another period of growth for challenge coins. Instead of identity, it was presented as a medal to the soldiers for their extraordinary resilience. Whole units sometimes get this award for their outstanding skills.


Modern Usage of the Challenge Coin and Evolution

Challenge Coin still holds a greater significance among the officials and commoners. Due to advanced technology, customization has reached the next level. The production efficiency is quite high. Above all, you get flawless quality during the production.

Let’s talk about the current significance!

Military Recognition 

If you are wondering about identity, challenge coins are the top choice. Their durability can get them more than a century of storage. Moreover, they are secret mission tools allowing fast recognition and saving of the officials. Army officers keep them in their pockets to identify their ranks.

Honorary Awards

personalized silver coins

Challenge coins are still part of valor. Military officials get different types of unique designs. Win the awards for their bravery and enjoy a glamorous appearance onstage. Commanding officers often present such awards to their juniors or seniors in almost all countries.


Encouraging officers

You might feel odd, but they also help train the new soldiers and build a strong bond in the squad. Daily distribution discloses the love and nurtures better performances than the competitors’ squad.


Antique products

custom military challenge coins

Suppose you are a soldier from World War II and are awarded the challenge coin. Till now, your award has become an antique being decorated in the galleries. Challenge Coin is also part of award centers and antique stores for its rising significance. Some antique collectors love to have such coins in their collection and pay any price to grab them.


Technology and Challenge Coin: The perfect blend of beauty

Today is the age of technology. From RFID Technology to artificial intelligence, we have many tools in our home. Factories are inventing new ways to produce customized designs of the challenge coin.

We will shed light on the technology integration and customization of the challenge coins.



First, you can craft new designs for the challenge coins. The 3D designs offer a visual representation of your designs. Plus, R&D departments focus on detailed artwork. Precise design can further improve the overall elegance of the challenge coins. 

With excellent craftsmanship and precise carving tools, you can prepare the best challenge coins that catch the sight at first look!

Material Choices

Such coins often comprise different types of metal. The surface finish shows off the luster of the coin. Some common metals you should know are:

  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Zinc 
  • Silver
  • Gold


The choice of metal can elevate the significance. For example, Gold appears classic and priceless compared to other metals.

Technology Integration

Virtual reality can show how your coin will look with different designs. QR code printing can link the coin to history. Apart from that, NFC chips help locate the coins and integrate the technology with the awards.



Challenge Coins are part of vintage collections and memories. So, its design must be unique and exhibit the cavalry owner’s possession. Go for the classic designs and timeless beauty while manufacturing the challenge coins.


If you expect custom designs with world-class quality, Metal Awards Factory can be your partner. We have an experience of more than a decade. Choose a challenge and get quality in a blink! Anticipate affordable costs!

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