ARE ALL MILITARY CHALLENGE COINS COMMANDER COINS?
Absolutely not! We have made challenge coins for Senior Noncommissioned Officers, Staff Officers and even one gung-ho corporal. (That is one of my favorite coins. I carry it with one of my four-star coins and when someone coins me I haul out the corporal. It never hurts to have a little back-up.)
Coins from senior staff officers are actually quite common as are coins from senior NCOs. We do a lot of them.
CHALLENGE COINS ARE EXPENSIVE
They are absolutely not. Many of us old timers remember when every time we turned around we got a framed certificate. Even back in the day these cost far more than challenge coins. I have done orders of military coins that cost less than $3.00 each. I have done one order of 100 coins that only cost $395.00 delivered. That is not the norm but someone could have an absolutely beautiful coin for that price. Less if they order more of them.
CHALLENGE COINS REMAIN THE SAME OVER THE YEARS
You would think that they would. That once a unit had a design they would want it to remain as a unit tradition. Though some units do this very few of them do. New commanders traditionally want to “upgrade” their coins or put their own unique turn to them. Some of them can get about as elaborate as they can be. Bottle openers, spinners, glow-in-the-dark coins, cutouts, keys, dog tag coins, you name it. We have done them all.
MILITARY COINS NEVER CONTROVERSIAL?
I will tread lightly here. Suffice it to say that we have made some pretty racy coins. Usually when government money is used people are pretty careful. But let someone pay for their own coins and the rules seem to melt away. We have done coins with secret messages hidden in them. I struggle for an example. Perhaps we should consider a coin many years ago from the 69th Fighter Squadron…. Then again, perhaps not. (Email me and I will send you their old motto from their coins.)
More Myths to follow. If you know of some yourself and want to “correct the record” send me an email or comment here. We would love to have them. This is a fascinating field and all we can do is make it better.