History of the Challenge Coin

History of the Challenge Coin

To an outsider, a challenge coin might look like nothing more than a shiny collectible item. However, to many people who possess one, they’re seen as a symbol of identity and membership. If the challenge coin is a foreign object to you, continue scrolling to learn more about what it is and what they represent!


What is a Challenge Coin

A challenge coin is essentially a memento to show dedication or commitment to a team, organization, or unit. Challenge coins can be used as a way to reward or honor a person for their achievements or dedication to a group that they’re a part of. A challenge coin is typically a small metal coin that’s designed in a unique way to represent the organization or the event that it’s dedicated to.

Traditionally, the challenge coin has been associated with the military as that’s where they most notably originated from. Before challenge coins were what they are today, they were first used as a means of identification by war soldiers. During WWI, it has been said that a wealthy officer had bronze medallions commissioned for his flying squad that they wore in leather pouches around their neck. The story goes that one of the pilots in the squad was shot down and captured by German patrols who took all of his belongings and personal identification. When this pilot eventually escaped, he made his way into a French outpost where they suspected he was a spy and planned to execute him. Just in time, the pilot remembered the coin around his neck which had his squad symbol engraved into it. The French recognized the symbol and sparred him because they were fighting for the same cause. From then on, it became a tradition to ensure that all members wore their coins on them at all times – this was accomplished by challenges conducted to prove they were wearing their coins.

They do have a long-standing history with military traditions, but other first responder services and civilian groups have found themselves using challenge coins as a means of identity and membership. They can be carried around, stuffed in a drawer, or put on display to represent who you are and what you’ve done.


Athletic Challenge Coins

In the world of athletics, challenge coins can be used as a way to reward athletes or coaches for their contribution to the team. Coaches can award challenge coins to players for teamwork, sportsmanship, dedication, success, or any other custom resemblance. Any sports challenge coin can be used as a great way to show encouragement, team unity, and team pride throughout the players.

Many clubs have a tradition of creating unique challenge coins that are handed out to players and staff as a symbol of respect and appreciation during times of major tournaments or matches. Especially during times of the World Cup, teams may make their players personal coins as a way to recognize them for their accomplishments and what their team represents.



If you’re the lucky owner of your very own challenge coin or collection that you want to put on display – display it alongside any other memorabilia that you have! For some inspiration on how you can display your authentic memorabilia check out our other blog.


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