Custom Challenge Coins
For decade’s military units, warships, submarines, squadrons, associations to morale, welfare and recreational groups spread across the globe in support of fundraising activities or throwing events to increase morale with the core being the development of a custom challenge coin. Challenge coins have been around a long time and with advancement of new technologies they have become even more exciting from the standpoint of not just shape but also the creativity that goes into each design that is manufactured. Custom challenge coins have taken on new heights and take shape in more than just metal coin form but help to identify a number of things important to the men and women in uniform it represents but also their spirit, candor, professionalism and warrior ethos. They know this and when they accept or provide a custom challenge coin to a friend, a fellow warrior or from their leadership they understand the importance it has among the US Military. They are custom challenge coins for a reason and they are a part of life to the men and women of the United States military.
It’s a good question. Sometimes it’s even a challenge at a bar or local watering hole. The challenge coin saved a lone American soldier in the First World War and it has transformed ever since into something that is part of the day and life of the American Army Soldier, US Navy Sailor, US Air Force Airman, US Marine, and US Coast Guardsman. Each coin represents something critical to their advancement, training, military occupation specialty, ship, squadron, deployment, dates of service, unit and much more. It is a record of the US military over decades and how the challenge coin ingrained in our military way of life is important. Americans like diversity, creativity and competition and when that competition is staring us in the face in the form of a challenge coin it must be the very best.
Let’s Make A Custom Challenge Coin
Artwork – whether its a napkin sketch or the most incredibly hand drawn image all can be accepted and transformed into a one-of-a-kind custom challenge coin. Concept is where the magic happens and whether you are a skilled artist or just have a great idea it can all become a cool custom challenge coin. It all starts with you and the ability to collaborate with an artist and take it through each stage of development arriving at an incredible custom challenge coin.
Mold – Your art when approved enters the mold stage. Here a 3D engineering draft is created if available or a factory challenge coin proof is created. From the acceptance of this proof comes a hardened piece of steel called a mold or die. The die is used to cut the blank metal wafers cutting it, striking the metal and transforming it into a raw custom challenge coin.
Striking – The mold strikes the pose. Nope. The mold strikes the coins and makes the shape and cuts into the metal pressing it into its shape and making the details such the high and low points of the challenge coin. The coin is raw at this pint still showing imperfections but moving in the right direction towards final completion. A small step post the strike is where the coins are dropped into a variety of pieces of equipment that debur and remove the small imperfections around the raw coins remove excess waste and metal not needed.
Painting – If the coin design had called out color it would move to this stage of development where skilled artisans paint the challenge coins using liquid enamel. The coins that require paint have recessed areas called cups that hold the liquid allowing it to dry and take form.
Quality Control – Not always the final stage because at each stage of custom challenge coin development quality control is performed. Each step of the process requires this allowing the challenge coin to move forward in production. Coins that do not pass QC are set aside, collected and do not become part of the custom challenge coin order as it advances.
A Word To The Wise
On your road to discover the best custom challenge coin company to fit your needs consider a few things when you read the largest type many of these companies state on their websites. Here are a few that sound really cool but we will shed some light on this so you understand how to avoid the landmines.
- We don’t charge for a mold or die. Wrong. You are getting charged and what’s worse you are going to get charged again for it when you place a reorder. A number of companies will lead you to believe they miraculously are in the free die making business. They are not.
- Free Shipping. Sure on the surface but someone has to pay the bill and their factory isn’t going to. And for those of you wanting to have your custom challenge coins shipped to an APO/FPO they have to go USPS unless you have a FEDEX, DHL or UPS mail drop off. Otherwise your custom challenge coins are going from the factory to the US and then mailed to you.
- If you send it they they will make it. Well in the case of artwork it had better be yours and you had better be the original artist. If you think finding a cool design on the internet and firing it over to some “Mr Coin and Sons We Do It All Challenge Coins” and have them make it doesn’t cause a problem for you it will. Let’s talk lawsuit and copyright infractions. You think art on the internet is free game. It isn’t Its called theft and that is a problem and for the custom challenge coin company you just paired up with they are not going to be all too appreciative when they find themselves in the middle of a lawsuit as well. They made it. They profited from it and they didn’t check out where that art cam from either. Save yourself the headache and get permission or create something original. Trust us on this one.
Cool Custom Challenge Coins
They can be pretty damn interesting and real pieces of artwork. Collecting them has become as much of a hobby to some as comic books. More to many in fact when you consider each US Military branch, unit, squadron, warship, command, function, activity battle or war. Every design on a custom challenge tells a story. They have mottoes, sayings and quotes and each coin tells a message or brings from its historical roots something akin to the nature of that military unit. They are special because they bring history to the current day and save it for the future. A custom challenge is a conveyor of history!
Lets take a look at some custom challenge coins that have been designed and created for the United States Army.
Stylish and possessing the kind of detail anyone both active duty of retired from the US Army would consider when it comes to an Army coin. Whether the United States Army was looking for a coin for its units on deployment from OIF, OEF, Kuwait and other wonderful and less than exciting sand boxes to be deployed in have been advocates of developing custom challenge coins for their units.
The United States Navy has designed coins for its ships for a change of command, a Goat Locker and its Chiefs, the First Classes among their First Class Petty Officer Associations, JEA, SCPOA, with designs for Bubble heads to Skimmers, Boatswain’s Mates to Hospital Corpsman the US Navy has a rich tradition of making custom challenge coins. Pollywogs have been initiated by Neptune’s Court transforming into Trusty Shellback often with a coin to gain entry to this prestigious brotherhood.
The US Air Force, as one of the youngest of US military branches has not let on with any lack of experience as it has developed many Air Force custom challenge coins for its fighter squadrons, bomber groups and a variety of special interests such as NASA coins in coordination with airmen from Vandenberg Air Force Base. We know. We made them.
They might be the youngest of military branches but at its heart is the same passion and determination to protect and defend our great nation, America. Having said that the same liberties that exist today because of our military stem from centuries of warriors protecting the rights of its citizens and their freedoms whether it was the ancient Greeks or Romans and now with Americans. The US Air Force is just as passionate about protecting our liberties and is demonstrated in this ancient liberty coin custom designed and created for the United States Air Force. Pegasus, the American Eagle with its claws grasping arrows for war and n olive branch to work towards peace. This is just one example of the custom Air Force coins created at Vision Strike Coins.
The United States Marine Corps and its development of custom military challenge coins has spared no experience in its approach to coin design going from highly specialize interests pertaining to a MOS coin or a course coin whereby US Marines are trained with special classes and courses to hone in their skills whether it be in marksmanship or embarkation or scout snipers. Each of these coins mark a variety of things from the training they pursue to the units, battalions and regiments they are honored to be a part of. USMC coins have gone from Camp Pendleton to Quantico and all points in between to the many serving line units overseas. US Marine Veterans also participate in the development of these designs when it comes to their military reunions where a coin is very relevant and appreciated by those attending.
The US Coast Guard even though the smallest of the US military branches hold their own when it comes to custom challenge coins. A few examples of original art and custom challenge coins created for the United States Coast Guard.
The Commander In Chief Gets A Challenge Coin
In the time we have been in the business of designing original custom challenge coins we have undergone one presidential election and as former US Marines and US veterans it was always part of our world to honor the role of commander in chief. We didn’t have to agree with their politics and we could always have a disagreement behind closed doors but one thing for sure stood out for us and that was to honor the position. Its no different than stopping at a red light at 2 am on a highway where the last car passed by 2 hours before. You stay there cause you know it was the right thing to do. President Challenge Coins became for us the same thing because doing our duty is important. Now when the next president of the United States gets elected we will do the same thing and honor that president with a similar President Challenge coin because we offer no favoritism. We honor the President. We honor the role and we honor the Commander In Chief.
Custom Challenge Coins – Some Basic Philosophy
It’s not a shirt, hoodie or a decal. If it’s bought cheap then it is cheap. It will last several lifetimes. The shirts will not. It presents a challenge, accepts a challenge and can flip with magical artistry. It gives thanks, it harkens command and respect and professionalism and a fine attention to the warrior ethos in us. It is given to those who have earned it, serves as a reminder of you time in service, your unit ship or command and displayed with pride. It gets traded, exchanged or is simply given to a friend or leader. It records time and counts the days months and years. It is seen on walls, table and desks, is worn around the next or displayed on a bleacher. It is encased in glass or seen at the entrance of heroes who gave everything in duty to their country. It is carried around the neck, in a pocket, bag or placed within a box. It is handed from generation to generation and reminds us of who came before us and cherishes their memory. It is a challenge coin.
The world isn’t flat and neither is my coin!
Explorers centuries ago sailed beyond the known reaches of the world searching for new lands, pioneering their way past difficult shoals, dangerous land masses, seeing a variety of new cultures, finding wealth and new discoveries. These adventurer’s sailed to the end of their maps and learned that the world was not flat and presented far more heights than they had ever imagined. That is the world of custom challenge coins today and how they have transformed from the old and very dull flat coin to a far more exciting and detailed three dimensional coin of the new world of coins. The old two dimensional coins have been offered for years because the factories of old wanted to charge less, offer less and make the cheapest coin they could muster. All to profit themselves and not to search out new ideas, options and deliver what can only be considered a new craft in custom challenge coin development. Let’s face it flat never got us anywhere years ago and it didn’t get us any further in the world of coins. There are those who will forever try and kid you into thinking that what they offer is good. Frequently it is not and what could be available is not with them. That is where the “new makers of coins come in and with whom want to deliver the best. Take note. The old companies are relics of coins that are void of exciting and leave you wanting more. Take hold of your future and make the decision to travel past the maps of old and sail into the new world of coins.
If you design it they will come!
Collaborate with your coin maker. Push the limits of design and ask a ton of questions. Let’s face it you will only get what you put into it. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Design, push, add detail, make it 3 D and at the end of the day your custom challenge coin will be exceptional.
Designing Coins – Field Manual Not Required.
Time to get a quote?
It’s never too late to get Oscar Mike and head toward an original custom challenge coins quote and get started. The first step in the development of your ideas transformed into metal art.