Challenge coins, or usually military coins, are used by certain organizations to bear their insignia or emblem. Traditionally used to reward those who pass the membership challenges, it is also used to boost the morale of the organization members. Also, military coins are also used as collection items by the members of the organization.
Challenge coins are designed and customized depending on the preferences of the customer or organization. While some challenge coins are customized to bear their emblem, others contain symbols of different positions within an organization. For example, some challenge coins bear the symbol of a five star general or colonel. In some cases, it bears the design or symbol of honorary awards such as the Navy Cross or Medal of Honor.
When making challenge coins, the first step is deciding what it is for. Is it for a military organization? Is it for the fire department? Or will it be used to award members for their bravery and other accomplishments? Once the customer has decided the purpose of the challenge coin, the next step is making the design.
Usually, the customers send in predesigned graphics of what the challenge coins will look like. However, there are some instances when the customers would request for a graphic artist to create the design according to their specifications. The design specification includes the size, shape, color and finish of the challenge coin.
Challenge coins come in different shapes and sizes. Some of the most popular shapes include the round coin, polygon shape, dog tag shape or square coin. Once the customer had decided on the shape of the challenge coin, the next thing to do is choose what metal to use.
There are different metals used in making challenge coins. Some of the most popular ones are polished gold, antique gold, polished silver, antique silver, black nickel, copper and dual tone metal. The color of the challenge usually depends on the kind of finish the customer is aiming for. Some customers want the coins to look like antiques while others go for a clean and polished look.
Once all design specifications are finished, the design is then transferred to the coin making team. The stamp makers transform the sketch into a stamp that will be used to emboss or transfer the design onto the coin.
While the stamp is created, the coin base is molded. The chosen metal is melted and poured into the molds to achieve the desired cut and shape. Afterwards, it is polished and prepared for the design transfer.
At the design transfer, the stamp is used to emboss the insignia or symbol to the metal. This is usually done while the coin is still soft or cooling. Once the symbol has been transferred, the coin is polished and cleaned to remove the rough edges. Other details such as coloring the spaces follows suit. This part is usually done by hand for accuracy and precision. After that, all of the coins pass the quality control to check if there are any problems or damages in the coins. If the coins pass quality control, it is packed into special boxes or containers and sent to the customers.
Challenge coins are great collectible items. It is also good for recognizing the achievement of organization members. Aside from that, customized challenge coins are also affordable and durable. With proper care, it will last for generations to come.