Challenge Coins 101

Challenge coins are meant to invoke pride, boost morale, and hold personal meaning, similar to award medals and trophies. Historically popularized by military commanders in World War I, challenge coins are commemorative coins representing membership to a group or organization or honoring a specific occasion, anniversary, or special achievement. 

Here’s some information on who typically receives challenge coins and the options for customizing challenge coins to your specific needs and requirements.

Who Receives Challenge Coins?

Military and First Responders

Challenge coins have a long history of being given to military personnel as well as to first responders such as EMTs, firefighters, and police officers. The community often presents these individuals with challenge coins to express their gratitude and provide the individuals with a memento and token of pride.


Civilians also use challenge coins to commemorate business events, conventions, and anniversaries, as well as for organizations such as AA, scout troops, and other groups with specific interests or commonalities. 

Challenge coins can be used to promote events and brands and build morale, as well as to show off achievements or remember important dates. Using challenge coins to represent a corporation's brand name or logo is a relatively new but popular practice. 

Options for Challenge Coin Customization

A challenge coin is traditionally a small circular coin that can fit in the palm of your hand; however, other custom shapes may be an option. Coins are made of metal, zinc, bronze, brass, or even wood, and are usually inscribed with details of what the coin is celebrating, oftentimes in the form of an insignia or emblem.

Southwest Emblem has been the nation’s No. 1 supplier of custom-made medals, patches, emblems, ribbons, challenge coins, and other emblematic products for the past 60 years. Have questions about our promotional products or want to talk about customization on a special project? Contact us today!