Custom military coins are considered to be challenge coins, which are issued by the services so that particular units can identify themselves. Find out how challenge coins have turned into medallions over the years with help from a second-generation numismatist in this free video on custom military coins.
Hello, I'm Brian Kuszmar with thecoinbroker.com. Let's talk a little bit about custom military coins. Custom military coins would be considered challenge coins. Challenge coins are often issued by the services, for example, the Marines, the Army, the Navy. Particular units, for example would, to identify themselves, would make these custom military challenge coins. And what they would do at bars is, if you didn't produce a military challenge coins, you had to pick up that round. Now the story goes that these challenge coins originally came about many years ago, and in fact, challenge coins nowadays aren't really challenge coins, they're actually medallions, because a coin does require to have a face value to be called a coin. But back in the old days, one of the stories I heard was about an old pfennig that was used. And a particular unit in Germany would pull out an old pfennig, and whoever didn't have this pfennig, because a pfennig was the cheapest coin in the whole, you know, the whole German currency at the time, so whoever didn't have a pfennig would be considered having the most money in their pocket because they weren't carrying pfennigs, little, tiny denominations. So the richest guy in the unit would buy the drink. That's where the term, or one of the terms, challenge coins came in. But, there are a couple different types of terms. Nowadays, again, they're made by private mints that make these, what we call medallions. Some of 'em have enamel, some of them don't. And, they even do it for the private sector, like a swat team or a particular police unit would have their own challenge coins, and it would denote what unit they were in. And, again, my understanding is if they were out at a social event, and they didn't show up with their challenge coins, they had to buy the round. Maybe, I'm not sure if that's still the case, but that's the story on challenge coins. As far as where you get challenge coins from, I don't think you can just make your own unless you have a club. What you would generally do is you'd be part of a unit, and then you'd have your...you'd call a company that would make a challenge coin or a medal, because again, it's not really a coin. But that's my suggestion. If you want to start your own club and make your own challenge medals, there you go.