The challenge coin has been a part of history. It is filled with stories of struggles, success, brotherhood and other inspirational acts. Many people own this such as artists, collectors, and old members of the military. There are people who have gotten custom military coins of their own design.
The challenge coin is not just a simple coin, but it symbolizes a rich and deep meaning. It is more than just a regular coin used as currency. It represents an achievement and honor that one has brought to a certain group or even to the country. This is not just called a challenge coin but also as a medallion or unit coin. It has been a part of the old traditions that still exist in the present generation.
The Origin of Challenge Coins
The definite origin of the challenge coin is unknown. There are different stories about how it came to be or how it was given such relevance. There may be many stories but they have this common denominator. It is that the challenge coin was given as a reward but was never meant for purchase or as a form of currency. This is one of the stories that talk about the origin of the custom military coins.
During the early times in Ancient Rome, soldiers were given reward for valor. The reward includes a day’s pay and another coin as a bonus. This is granted when soldiers perform well in battles. These coins have the design which indicates the place where it came from. These coins are not for purchase, rather, they are held as souvenirs. This is to discourage the soldiers in spending them for women and liquor.
The Medallion Secrecy
The challenge coin usually indicates the membership of an individual to a particular group. This is usually used as an entrance for an assembly to make sure that the minutes of the meetings are kept confidential.
There was an event in 2011 that showed another act of concealment of the medallion. This was called The Secret Handshake. During Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ tour in Afghanistan, he was able to pass on challenge coins to several personnel in the Armed Forces in front of many people secretly. He did this by shaking hands with them. Along with the hand contact was the secret passage of the medallion. The custom military coins given were a special Secretary of Defense challenge coin.
The Coin Check
Since organizations use the custom military coins as a sign of membership, they check the coins regularly. This is done anytime and anywhere. This is for them to make sure that they carry the right medallion with them. This coin check is popularly known as The Challenge. It encourages the members to keep their challenge coins with them at all times.
This activity is the reason why these medallions or unit coins are called as challenge coins. This has been a tradition in many groups especially the military. Once a challenge has been made, everyone must participate. There are no exceptions to the rule. Whatever it is you are doing, you must stop it. You may be unclothed, just woke up, or whatever it is that indicates unpreparedness, but you cannot escape the game.
The Challenge Rules
The Challenge’s rules may vary among different organizations. These are the basic or common rules widely used by most of the unions.
The game is initiated by first, drawing out one’s challenge coin. It is held in the air to show that you are up for a challenge. This can be done by placing the coin on a table. This may also be done by making noise using the coin or shouting out that you are initiating a coin check. Whatever way it is, they challenge notification must be heard by all your mates.
Once the attention has been called, all those who are being challenged must present their coins in the way that the challenger has presented his/her coin. If you were unable to show your coin right or weren’t able to show any coin at all, you will have to buy drinks for the whole group or the challenger. It depends on the rules that your union has implemented.
Challenge coins were given to soldiers to recognize their valor and sacrifices to fulfill their duties for their country.