A Brief History & Its Rules


The representation of a challenge coin is extremely valuable, especially in the Military Force. The practice of giving challenge coins history was not just a custom but signified pride, recognition, and camaraderie among military individuals.

While the origin of US Marine challenge coins and other military challenge coins is conflicting, the core value of challenge coins remain intact. In today’s day, the advance in technology and resources has provided the scope of manufacturing custom challenge coins.

Custom design in challenge coins has further amplified the categories of challenge coins available in today’s world. However, when it comes to military challenge coins the purpose, the history and even the rules of presenting the coins are honoured and appreciated.

Let’s take a look at the brief history of challenge coins and the rules associated with it.

The Popular Origin Story of Challenge Coin

Well, there are many origin stories related to challenge coins, however, one story really stands out from the rest and is most popularly accepted. This story establishes the concept for the making of the first challenge coin.

The story dates back to the Ancient Rome era when the soldiers were given coins when winning a battle and delivering excellent performance. Some of these coins were unlike other coins which were handed to them as wages for their services.

The unique coins which were given to soldiers for their excelling performance on the battlefield were bonus coins given to them separately. As per some records, it is claimed that these coins had marks of the legion and were specially minted.

Soldiers kept these coins as a memento rather than spending them on food and wine. The first origins of the coin came into existence with these ancient era Rome battle coins.

The First Origin of Military Challenge Coins

This might be the origin story of the first Military Challenge Coin which traces back to the time of the First World War. During the battle, a rich French officer handed a medallion made of bronze to each of his men.

These medallions had a unique insignia which was of their flying squadron. During the battle, a flying ace was targeted and captured. The Germans have said to remove all of the item from the captured ace’s person.

The only item that they didn’t take was a pouch hanging around his neck which had the bronze medallion given to the person by the officer. However, he escaped from the capture of the Germans and entered his country, France.

But the Frenchmen mistook him to be a German spy and was soon sentenced to death. But the ace showed the medallion as an identity proof, one of the French soldiers present at the event recognized the insignia engraved on the medallion and his execution was delayed.

Soon, the ace was confirmed of his identity and he was released as a free man and returned to his unit.

Later, such medallions were given for the purpose of identity and were drilled with holes in them so that they could wear it around their neck. This is probably how the origin story of the first military challenge coin came into existence.

The Rule of Presenting Challenge Coin Today

There is a special etiquette followed for giving out challenge coins to military personnel. Since the US Marine Challenge Coins or any other military coins hold great value, they aren’t handed over to the candidate just like any other regular coin.

To honour the importance of challenge coins, they are given to the deserving personnel with a firm handshake. The coin is placed in the middle of the palm and is handed over to the recipient with a firm handshake.

Also, it is common etiquette to carry the challenge coin throughout the service period and to present the coin whenever it is asked to show.


The above enumerated points are some of the conflicting stories that constitute the history of military challenge coins. The rich history and the rules associated with it, further enhances the sentimental and monetary value of the coins.

To learn more about challenge coins and interesting facts related to them, get in touch with challenge coins expert manufacturing companies now.



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