Use of challenge coins is an ancient practice that has been used to honor outstanding performances in certain areas. Challenge coins are different from other coins as they do not carry monetary value but are a special gift to the recipient. The military is credited with introduction of the challenge coins and these were given to individuals who performed great tasks towards victory of a military unit. History gives varying opinions in regard to the exact origin of the coins but they all point to the military and two main theories have been embraced to be factual.
At the time of the war with the Germans, there was a great numbers of those who enlisted in the French army leading to one rich man sourcing for the coins for all who enlisted. During the war however, one of the solders was captured by the enemy but managed to escape with only the coin as the only form of identification. After finding his way to escaped, he fell on to the hands of the French army but could not find a way to identify himself. The French solders decided to execute him as there was no any form of identification on him but this changed once they found the challenge coin upon which he was celebrated.
Another historical perspective indicates that the Vietnamese introduced the challenge coins as a form of identification for those who enlisted in the army and went to the war. With the high regard for the coins, those who acquired them became respectable that they never used to buy beer but could get it free from all pubs. This made the coins as a sign of dignity and at this point, they gained popularity.
With the popularity and esteem carried by challenge coins, they were also accorded to civilians as well. These were mostly national leaders and other members of the community who overcame challenges in pursuit of their countries victory. Any contribution made for the good of the country, therefore, could be awarded this ceremonial gift to any member.
In modern times challenge coins are used by companies and organizations alike. Employees who make meaningful and recognizable contribution in this regard is awarded the coins. They serve therefore as an idea embraced by companies to encourage employees on performance. Within the military, the practice still remains and this is used in recognition of solders in all ranks.
Source of challenge coins remains the mystery to majority today. Sources however still do exist and provide with a range of choices for all. Materials used in production as well as the designs applied vary with the client and guidance is available for this purpose. The available options offer with customized solutions that fit to the desires of the client.