what is challenge coinEverything You Need to Know on: What is Challenge Coin

Challenge coins are very popular nowadays. They carry significant tradition and history featuring unique designs and enticing colors. But really, what is challenge coin, and why do they hold such a special place in various communities? In this blog post, we’ll give you some insights on the challenge coin meaning, their significance, and how can you get your customized. Let us first discuss the meaning behind challenge coins.

What is a Challenge Coin

what is challenge coin

A challenge coin is a tiny, eye-catching coin or medallion that bears the name of a company. These coins hold significant cultural and historical value. It serves as a symbol of unification, recognition of achievements, and membership. The tradition of challenge coins involves their use in friendly challenges or rituals. Adding a personal touch to a community’s celebration of shared experiences and accomplishments. 

Have you ever heard about what is a military challenge coin and navy challenge coins?

They are challenge coins focusing on areas of the military and navy. We’ll further discuss them below.

What are Military Coins?

A military coin signifies great honor to the receiver. It shows that the member has played a significant role and had a great impact on the organization. This coin is given as a form of recognition for one’s hard work in the military service.

What is Navy Challenge Coins?

Navy Challenge Coins

Within the US Navy, navy challenge coins are unique tokens with deep symbolic meaning. These coins have mottos, symbols that represent specific Navy units, ships, or achievements. 

Having considered what a navy challenge coin is, let’s now understand what are challenge coins for.

What Do Challenge Coins Represent

Challenge coins are not just tangible tokens made of metal, they are representations of an intricate network of traditions and connotations. Let’s talk about what is a challenge coin used for:

Achievement and Recognition: 

Awarded to individuals for exceptional performance, achievements, or milestones. They stand as tangible acknowledgments of dedication and excellence.


Crafted to commemorate specific events, deployments, or significant moments in history.

Membership and Identity: 

Signifies belonging to an exclusive group or organization. It acts as a tangible marker of shared experiences, fostering a sense of unity and identity.


Exchanging challenge coins has become a symbol of camaraderie and mutual respect. The act of presenting a coin often involves a handshake and a shared bond.

Tradition and Ritual: 

The challenge coin tradition includes various rituals and customs. Initiating a challenge involves producing a coin. Those unable to do so may face a consequence, fostering a sense of camaraderie and tradition.

Motivation and Morale: 

Challenge coins serve as sources of inspiration and motivation. They boost morale within teams or units. It reminds individuals of their collective strength and shared purpose.

Gifts and Souvenirs: 

Exchanged as gifts or souvenirs. They serve as lasting mementos, carrying sentimental value and preserving memories.


Often customized with specific designs, colors, and inscriptions. To embody the goals and character of the issuing organization.

After knowing what challenge coins represent, let’s understand them better by knowing what are challenge coins made of.

Materials Used for Challenge Coins

The material used to make a challenge coin is essential as it makes a huge difference in the final appearance. Here at Relia, we use materials like brass, iron, and zinc alloy. The chosen material will define the coin weight, the design, and the production time. Here are the material differences for you to understand each material better:


A challenge coin made of brass is a combination of copper and zinc. This is done to produce a variety of colors.

  • Brass is the heaviest metal used in coinage.
  • Brass holds an electroplated finish that does not rub off easily. This feature gives challenge coins a jewelry-like quality. Other than that, coins made of brass have excellent corrosion resistance.
  • 3D relief and small details are defined.
  • Brass materials are malleable making it favorable to many manufacturers


Iron features a silver-gray natural color which adds to the aesthetic value of a challenge coin. If iron is to be the material of choice, below are some factors to consider:

  • Iron is a lightweight material compared to brass
  • Not recommended for 3D relief as small details will be buffed away during polishing.
  • Iron tends to rust easily, and electroplating also wears off with extensive use. It is recommended to use epoxy coating edge to edge to protect the coin from rust.

Zinc Alloy

Zinc alloy is achieved by mixing zinc with a number of other metals. We usually mix lead or copper. Zinc alloy is favorable due to its low melting point property, making it perfect for coin design.

  • Ideal for coins that require high relief and intricate details.
  • Zinc alloy has no problem forming different shapes, angles, and interior cut-outs, to challenge coins.

With the materials mentioned above, we can form different challenge coins of different styles.

Different Styles of Challenge Coins

Each challenge coin symbolizes the unique character and objectives of the group. Here are some different styles of challenge coins:

Classic Die-Struck Coins: 

Die Struck Challenge Coins

Traditional and timeless, die-struck coins feature raised and recessed metal. It creates a clean and elegant design. They often showcase intricate details and are available in various finishes.

3D Molded Coins: 

3D Challenge Coins

Offering a more dynamic and sculpted appearance. 3D molded coins use a three-dimensional mold to create intricate and lifelike designs. 

Spinner Coins: 

Spinner Coins

Feature a rotating component within the coin. This interactive element adds a dynamic and playful touch. It often enhances the visual appeal.

Cutout Coins: 

Cutout Coins

Feature openings or voids within the metal. It creates unique shapes or silhouettes. Allows for creative and intricate designs that go beyond the standard circular form.

Printed Coins: 

Printed Coins

Printed coins incorporate full-color designs using advanced printing techniques. For detailed graphics, intricate patterns, and vibrant colors. It offers a more contemporary and striking visual appearance.

Antique Finish Coins: 

Antique Challenge Coins

Antique coins impart a vintage charm. It often enhances the coin’s character and significance. 

Sequential Numbering Coins: 

Sequential Numbering Challenge Coins

Ideal for limited editions or serialized collections. Sequential numbering adds a personal and exclusive touch to challenge coins. Each coin bears a unique number, contributing to its individuality.

Dual Plating Coins: 

Dual Plating Coins

Involves applying two distinct metal finishes to the coin. It creates a contrasting and appealing effect. For creative combinations like gold and silver or antique and polished finishes.

Bottle Opener Coins: 

Bottle Opener Challenge Coins

Combining functionality with symbolism. These coins serve as both a token of recognition and a useful tool.

If you want to know more creative uses of challenge coins, we discuss them in this blog.

After knowing the different types of challenge coins, it is important that we know how challenge coins work and how to customize them.

How to Customize a Challenge Coin

Customizing challenge coins offers a unique opportunity to tailor your specific vision & purpose. The following is a summary of how military challenge coins work on customization:

Define Your Purpose: 

Explain the goal of your challenge coin in clear terms. Whether the goal is to promote a brand, or achievements or remember a special occasion. A well-defined aim will direct the customization process.

Select the Ideal Design: 

Consider including elements that convey the coin’s purpose.

Components & Finishes: 

Various metals and finishes such as polished, antique, or dual plating. Select the finishes and materials that complement the style you have in mind.

Coin Shape and Size: 

Challenge coins are not limited to standard circular shapes. Consider unique shapes or cutouts that enhance the coin’s design. Decide which size best suits your requirements. Ensuring it’s large enough to accommodate intricate details.

Incorporate Personalization: 

Add personalization elements, such as engraved names, dates, or sequential numbering. This adds an individual touch and makes each coin unique.

Explore More Features: 

Consider incorporating more features like 3D molding, spinners, or cutouts. These features can enhance the coin’s visual appeal and make it stand out.

Color and Enamel Options: 

Decide on the color palette and enamel style. Soft enamel for a textured feel or hard enamel for a smooth, polished surface.

Consider Packaging: 

The presentation of your challenge coin matters. Explore packaging options that align with the significance of the coin. This could include custom boxes, velvet pouches, or acrylic cases.

For in-depth knowledge about the production process of custom challenge coins, we discuss them further in this blog

Knowing the fundamentals of challenge coins, you might be wondering where to get yours customized. 

How Can You Get a Challenge Coin

If you want to have your challenge coin design printed into high-quality challenge coins, you are at the right place. Here at Relia Metal, we help you execute your ideas into reality. We use only premium materials and innovative technology to craft custom coins that match your visions. If you want to experience premium manufacturing, get in touch with us today!

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