All the stories regarding the origin of challenge coins refer to one organization as the first users of such coins. The deemed first givers and users of these coins were Ancient Roman warriors, American soldiers, Filipino guerrillas, and so on – all of which were part of one organization: the military.
Nowadays, a lot of retired and currently serving men of the US military received at least one challenge coin in their lifetime. A challenge coin is being rewarded as a symbol of a military man’s bravery and the government’s gratitude towards his services.
Some military men who received these coins gave their coins to anyone they preferred. Usually, their families inherit them. Others passed their coins to young military men they thought to be deserving of their challenge coins. Even the most powerful men in the US, the former and current presidents, acquire coins as given by some retired military men.
From the military, the coin tradition is now being observed by other branches in the government of several countries. Aside from government branches, some non-governmental organizations are awarded with specially made coins which would serve as their proof of membership.
Some recipients of challenge coins later on became coin collectors. These days, coin collectors come from different walks of life. If you are looking for a new hobby, you may want to try collecting different kinds of coins. There are various ways for you to acquire a challenge coin.
• Inherit from your older relatives who served the military.
This one could be the easiest way to get a challenge coin. You can even get your coins for free. All you have to do is ask nicely. If this one’s impossible, you can try the other ways below.
• Join an organization of your interest.
Most organizations offer proof of membership and identification to their members. The most common of which is ID cards. Some have customized shirts and other merchandise. Members of a few organizations get their organizations’ coins.
Joining an organization is not an assurance of acquiring a challenge coin. To be sure, ask first if they are offering coins to members. However, when you are looking for an organization to join, don’t depend your decision solely on whether or not they offer a challenge coin. Base it on your interest. After a while, you may request to have a coin for your organization if you actively participated and if you are passionate about your group’s advocacies.
• Join and participate in the events held by a coin collectors’ organization.
If coin collection is all you wanted, then join an organization for such. You will learn more about coin collection once you become a part of a coin collectors’ group. Aside from the kinds of coins worth collecting, you will gain and share information as to where and how to claim certain challenge coins.
Leaders of a coin collectors’ organization often reward coins to members who attended and participated in group meetings and events. You may also get coins by trading with fellow avid coin collectors. Some have two or more similar coins that they are willing to trade. You can grab the chance and trade whatever coins you have but know the value of your coins so you won’t be tricked with a less-valued coin or coins.
• Buy and trade.
Dedicated collectors go beyond the economical ways. They resort to coin purchases. Coins/cash are exchanged with coins.
This could be the priciest if you don’t know where and how to make a good deal. You can buy collectible coins from certain stores. You can try buying from a former military man but don’t push your luck; it may be mistaken as an insult. To make it more manageable, you may look for traders or sellers online.
• Join the military and serve the country.
Acquiring an additional challenge coin to your collection is satisfying. But among the ways to acquire a challenge coin, earning it the hard, traditional way offers the most rewarding feeling.
Joining the military for the sake of getting challenge coins is a silly idea but there’s another way that’s sillier than that. You can run for president. If you won, you will be given a specially made challenge coin.