The tradition of the military carrying coins can be traced all the way back to the Civil War and World War I when Soldiers left for battle with a coin from home in their pocket and kept it after the conflict as a lasting remembrance of their wartime experiences. It was during World War II where the “Challenge Coin” became a tradition. American soldiers stationed in Germany after the war adopted that country’s popular “pfennig check.” The pfennig was the smallest unit of German currency. When someone announced a pfennig check, a soldier who could not produce one had to buy a round of drinks for his buddies. This tradition carried into the Vietnam War where Special Forces units minted a coin to express the unique identity and strong bond forged between them. Other units quickly began creating their own to build camaraderie and symbolize their pride of membership in an elite group. Today, coin checks are still a part of military life and are revered by troops in every branch of service. Various penalties are still handed out for those found without theirs. These custom coins – originally minted for military units – capture in metal the essence of their affiliation and their fierce pride. But not only are they carried by soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, they are also carried by lawmen, firefighters, Government entities, and almost any member of a particular unit with a well-defined history and mission. The challenge coin is not merely a token, but a tangible source of pride.
Signet can supply you with lapel pins, Challenge Coins, and Medallions. When you have a special event, business anniversary, completion of a major project, or want to reward work that is above and beyond, gift those with a special commemorative pin, coin, or medallion. Contact us today to customize yours or pick from pre-made designs.
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Reference: The Challenge Coin Tradition (A Brief Look at the History of Challenge Coins In the Military), Retrieved October 29, 2015 from http://custom.nwtmint.com