Back in ancient Rome, soldiers received special coins to show appreciation for their bravery in battle. It’s thought that the coins were marked with the soldier’s legion insignia. It’s for this reason that the coins became a popular keepsake.
Today we give out the same sort of coins to commemorate a member of the military and first responders. Some companies hand them out during tradeshows as an interesting promotional item.
These special little keepsakes are challenge coins. What is a challenge coin? We’ve got a full explanation right here.
Keep reading to learn more about the coins and find out what goes into giving and receiving one.
Challenge coins are unique coins that show that you’re a part of an organization. It can also represent your rank within that organization.
If you perform certain duties well, your reward could be a challenge coin. Lately, brands have started using challenge coins as a way to spread their brand around. They’ll give them away at tradeshows.
While this sort of cheapens the “challenge” part of the coin, they are more interesting to look at than a simple business card. Another way you can receive a coin is by buying it, but again, that sort of cheapens the experience.
Types of Challenge Coins
There are a variety of different challenge coins available that you can earn. The most common ones come from being in the military or doing something heroic as a first responder. There are other ones that you can receive too, however.
Military Challenge Coins
During their time in the service, a member of the military can collect a vast number of challenge coins. There are a variety of coins available for all branches of the military. Air force coins are a good example of this.
The military branches aren’t the only ones that have their own special coins. Individual units have them too. You can even get one for completing specific missions.
All the top generals have a unique challenge coin, as does the president.
First Responder Challenge Coins
First responder challenge coins work about the same way as the military ones do. You can receive one for exceptional service. Law enforcement and firefighters both use challenge coins as an award.
Government agencies and politicians often give out challenge coins to first responders as well. It’s a great way to provide a sense of hope during tragic times.
Business Challenge Coins
As we said before, businesses tend to give out challenge coins at trade shows. It’s a lot more interesting to receive one of these than a business card. Especially considering most business cards end up in the garbage.
Most of the time, these coins will have the same information that you can get from a business card on them. Well, it will, at least, have the company’s name and phone number somewhere.
Many clubs and organizations give out challenge coins to show rank amongst the members. They may also use them to honor those who always do their best for the club.
The Coin Check
There is a game amongst those with challenge coins called a coin check. It starts with someone inciting a check. When you hear the call, you’ll need to display your coin as fast as possible.
If you can’t produce your coin, you’ll have to buy a round of drinks for everyone who could show their coin. If you’re the one who is planning to initiate the check, it’s only proper etiquette to explain the rules of the game first. Failing to do so isn’t fair to those who’ve never heard of it before.
Giving a Coin
Let’s say that you’re on the giving end of the coin instead of the receiving. You’re not sure how to give a challenge coin the right way. Is there a wrong way to go about it?
Giving a challenge coin is meant to be a discrete practice. You don’t make a huge deal of handing it over. That’s why you conceal it in the palm of your hand first.
Once you have the coin hidden, you pass it over to the other person by inciting a handshake. You do it this way, no matter if you’re giving it during an award ceremony or in a bar.
There are certain etiquette rules in place when dealing with challenge coins. Telling people about the drinking game before issuing the challenge is only one of these rules.
Keep Your Coin Close to You
You never know when someone is going to issue a coin check. That means it’s a good idea for you to always have your coin on you. If you have to perform a bunch of complex steps to get to it, you’ll lose the check and have to buy the round of drinks.
Don’t Wear the Coin as Jewelry
Punching a hole through a challenge coin so you can wear it as a necklace is a huge sign of disrespect. You can still wear it around your neck if you want, but you should use a clear pouch instead.
Display Your Challenge Coin Proudly
What is a challenge coin? It’s a tradition that’s been around since the days of ancient Rome. They’re used to honor those who’ve performed a great service.
As you can see, there are very specific ways that you can earn and give the coins to others. If you fail to live up to the etiquette rules put in place, it’s a sign of disrespect. For more about challenge coins and their various uses, visit the Lifestyle section of our blog.