Military coins, also known as challenge coins, are same as any old coins. They are just bigger and their worth lies in the history of their creation.
Shapes and Materials Used
A traditional military coin is round with a diameter that ranges between 1 ½ and 2 inches; thickness of 1/10 of an inch. Through the years, some challenge coins have developed into different shapes and sizes. There are coins now that come in multilateral shapes such as triangles, rectangles, squares, octagons, and pentagons. Others are created in special shapes like shields, stars, dog tags, and arrowheads.
If the military coin is designed for display, zinc alloy is usually the chosen material. It costs a lot cheaper than the die-struck bronze material. Some of the other materials used are brass, copper, iron, nickel, pewter, and steel.
To make the designs of the coins stand out, different kinds of finishes are used. Depending on the preferred effect, finishes used on the coin vary. The most commonly used finish on military coins is enamel, which can be either hard or soft enamel. Hard enamel coin finish creates a glossy and smooth surface. To make everything even, the printed design is covered with color. The raised parts and the lower areas of the coin design are on the same level. After putting the colors on the coin, baking and polishing come next to provide it with a reflective surface.
On the other hand, soft enamel finish is less polished than hard enamel. The lower parts of the coin design are kept. Soft enamel is the more common enamel finish because it creates a textured surface. This kind of effect gives more appeal and dimension to the coin. When light hits the coin, its uneven surface creates more effect and interesting details. For longer-lasting and sparkly finish, electroplating is done using metals. Often, gold and silver plating is used on limited edition challenge coins like anniversary or commemorative coins.
Designs on military coins vary as well. They range from simple to intricate designs. In general, the design is a stamp of the insignia or logo of the organization. The military challenge coin itself is sometimes created to match the insignia. For instance, if the insignia of the unit is a shield, then the military coin also takes the shape of a shield. For simple designs, the insignia is normally imprinted on the center of the military coin.
The outer diameter of the coin normally has words like names. A common part of the coin design is the motto. There are also coins with numbers imprinted on the edges or rims, which signify that the coins are limited.
Multidimensional designs are also becoming more and more popular. The advancement of technologies allows the creation of 3D designs. Military challenge coins are not limited to flat designs anymore because more interesting designs are now available.
Uses Outside the Military
Customized military coins are now also being created. Through the years, different organizations outside the military have also found some uses for these coins. Companies give them out to their loyal employees and those who have displayed an excellent service. In celebration of their anniversary, companies hand out custom coins to recognize exceptional employees who contributed a lot to the achievements and growth of the company. The coins also serve as tokens of gratitude. These coins also promote unity and solidarity among all employees. This is a great item to symbolize pride in the things that they do and what their organization stands for.
A lot of companies also find custom coins as great advertising tools. For instance, they give out coins imprinted with their company logo during special events to promote their brand. Truly, military coins have evolved through the years