Most people in America have either seen or owned some coins at one time or another. Even if they didn’t know much about them, they probably know someone else who does. It’s a small world, as close as the Internet, where almost everyone knows someone else who owns a few coins.
There are lots of reasons for that, but the most important one is the pride that comes with possessing coins that show a group’s history or indicate membership in a club, organization, or group.
That’s what makes custom challenge coins such a great option for collectors. The traditional design features a group of figures, often done in a field such as the military where the entire unit can be identified, standing or sitting, as is the tradition cheap custom coins. In those days, a coin was given for recognition of some accomplishment, although they have come a long way since then.
Today, they can be given for any reason at all, though they’re particularly popular among veterans. The reason is easy to understand – members of law enforcement and other law enforcement and security personnel have a special affinity for these coins, seeing them as an emblem of their profession, and not just as a reward for some singular event.
As a former police officer, I had several challenge coins given to me by various groups, both for commendations and for things that I did that helped build morale in the force. I received a citation many years ago for helping to apprehend a suspect who had assaulted another person. I later learned that the man was a member of a gang that was involved in more than one assault. By recognizing me for assisting the agency in reducing the crime rate, the department in fact was thanking me for my service.