There are lots of collectibles and traditions that go along with military service, but one of the least-understood examples is the challenge coins. But challenge coins have actually been around a lot longer than you might think!
Are you interested in learning where challenge coins come from?
Read on to learn about the history of challenge coins.
The Ancient History of Challenge Coins
Challenge coins have a long and interesting history, dating back to ancient times. The exact origins of the challenge coin are not known, but one popular theory suggests that they originated in ancient Rome.
It is believed that Roman soldiers were given coins as a form of payment, and they would often use them to prove their allegiance and identity when they were in foreign territories.
The Modern History of Challenge Coins
The modern tradition of challenge coins can be traced back to World War I. It is said that a wealthy American officer, who had bronze medallions made for his men, presented one to a young pilot.
The pilot is said to have put the medallion in a pouch that he wore around his neck and carried it with him no matter what. Later, the pilot was shot down behind enemy lines and captured by the Germans. He managed to escape and made his way to a French unit, but he had no identification.
France suspected he was a spy and were about to execute him when he remembered the medallion in his pouch. He showed it to his captors, and they recognized the insignia on the coin, which proved his identity and saved his life.
After the war, many soldiers continued to carry their challenge coins as a symbol of their service and camaraderie.
The tradition spread throughout the military. The use of challenge coins became more widespread during World War II, when they were used to build morale and camaraderie among soldiers. The coins were often inscribed with the unit’s emblem, motto, or battle cry.
Challenge Coins Today
Today, challenge coins are highly collectible and are often traded and displayed with pride by their owners. They are also frequently used as a way to recognize and honor the sacrifices and achievements of members of the military and other organizations.
Challenge coins are used by members of the military, law enforcement agencies, and other organizations to recognize achievements, build camaraderie, and show pride in their units. They are also collected by coin enthusiasts and are often used as gifts or awards for exceptional service or achievements.
The standard challenge coin size can differ based on the situation, so make sure you do your research in advance.
The History of Challenge Coins: Now You Know
There’s a lot to learn about the rich history of challenge coins. This overview has just scratched the surface.
Are you looking to learn more about related topics? We’ve got you covered. Take a careful read through a few of our other amazing articles.