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Challenge Coins

If you are interested in collecting United States coins, you should consider adding Challenge coins to your collection. They are a very special type of coins. You see a Challenge coins is a small medallion (usually military) bearing an organization's emblem, they are given to service personnel to enhance their moral and enforce the image of the entire unit supporting each other.

While the origins of the Challenge Coins are of much debate, most agree to the fact that it started during the First World War. Some say this tradition began in the United States Army Air Service. During this period they were many volunteers joining in the US Army. As the story goes one of the service lieutenant ordered small, solid bronze medallions (or coins) to be made. The coin was gold-plated with an engraving of the squadron's insignia and was very valuable. Those Challenge coins were presented to each of the pilots in the squadron. One of the pilots who never owned anything as valuable as this coin placed it in a small leather pouch which he hung around is neck.

It is said that this pilot's aircraft was heavily damaged during a fight and was force to land in enemy territory where he was captured by Germans patrols. The Germans took all of his belongings but never noticed the little Challenge coin hung around his neck. During a fight the pilots managed to escape from the German camp and dressed as a civilian to avoid German patrols. Unfortunately he was later captured by French patrols. Mistaking him for a German saboteur the French planned to execute him. The story says that just before the execution the pilots shoed is challenge coins in the hope that is country of origin would be proven. One of the Frenchmen recognized the unit insignia on the coin and delayed the execution long enough to confirm the pilot's identity.

When he returned back home and recounted his tale the coin was called a challenge coin and more of these challenge coins were minted. These challenge coins were later adopted by all branches of the military. From the legend of this coin a new way of using the coin was adopted. This is where the challenge coins tradition was born.

The tradition states that the Challenge coins are used to enhance moral. It is said that when a service personal ask for another members Challenge coin to be produced, the challenge member as to produce the coin.

The failure to produce the challenge coin means that a round of drinks has to be bought for everyone who is present at the challenge. On the other hand if there is a group of people who have been challenged and they produce their challenge coins the challenger has to buy everyone a round of drinks. As you see, from the beginnings of the challenge coins to the present day, these coins represent the steadfast tradition of military honor and loyalty.

From the very beginning those challenge coins have always represented the steadfast tradition of military honour and loyalty.

Considered one of the greatest honors is for a member of the forces to give their challenge coin to another person, usually a civilian - as they do not have a challenge coin themselves.