The military has a lot of special traditions. One of these traditions has become the most important which not only enhances the harmony between the members, but also uplifts their morale. This highly anticipated tradition is when they give away challenge coins. The challenge coins would be different from one military branch to another. It also becomes a proof in which unit the member of the military comes from.
These challenge coins, also known as unit coins, commander’s coins or military coins, are usually made of either the most expensive and the highest quality materials or the cheapest materials possible. Some of these custom coins are not only collected by the members of the military, but by non-members as well. These coins are used in a non-military setting like a business or a school. Regardless of where the coins come from, these are used as a form of recognition to a deserving person.
Challenge coins are usually larger than any other ordinary coin, though there are some smaller ones made. The sizes can range from between 1 to 3 inches. These coins can also have a thickness of ½ to 1 inch. The design will depend on what the owner of the coins will want, including the shape. Not all custom coins are rounded; some can be square-shaped, oblong or oval and some may also have extraordinary shapes like a pentagon, a star or a shield.
In producing these coins, different metals can be used. Each metal would give the coin a different kind of finish. The common metals used for these coins are silver, brass, copper, nickel, and gold. If a custom coin is made out of gold, then it also means that the coin is special and is only given away during special occasions. The person who will be given this kind of coin will have the highest honor available.
A person can have different designs added to the custom coins. Some would have a print of the logo of the unit where they belong to. Others would have a profile of a prominent person within the organization. Other symbols and designs can be added to the coins, as well as adding different colors, to enhance the design. You can have the designs printed on both sides or on just one side of the custom coin.
The Military Coin Tradition
There is a popular use of the military coins among soldiers: The Military Coin Challenge. The Military Coin Challenge had been played during the First World War. American soldiers would play a game called “pfennig check-up”. When the game is initiated, each participating soldier would show a pfennig (a German currency with the lowest monetary value). If someone is unable to present a pfennig, then he needs to buy drinks for the participants who were able to as punishment.
This game was then continued from generation to generation and the coin to be used was changed from the pfennig to the modern military coins. This tradition is played by all military units. This practice ensured that each member of the military has their military coin at all times.
Any member of the military unit can start the game. The challenger will announce that there will be a check-up of the military coin. This is done regardless of the location; it can be in a bar, a restaurant, or even in their sleeping quarters. All who have heard the announcement must present their military coin on the spot. If a person is unable to present his coin, then he must buy a round of drinks for those who were able to present theirs. If everyone was able to present their coins, then the challenger who started the challenge will need to buy everyone a round of drinks.