The Rules of Challenge Coins

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The challenge coin is usually a small medallion of coin that bears the insignia or the emblem of an organization. This coin is given to all the members of the organization and as per tradition, it is used to prove the individual’s membership or to increase their morale.

Most service members usually carry a challenge coin that bears the insignia with which they serve. Understanding the challenge coin etiquette is important for people who are going to carry it around with them.


Before we talk about the rules of the challenge coin, it is important to understand the history of the challenge coin, and the origins that ultimately led to the creation of the rules. The concept of challenge coins was created by the Roman Empire. It is purported that the coins were given to soldiers of the army to highlight their achievements.

Before the coins were sent for minting, the soldiers would be rewarded for their act of bravery with a drink, which would be bought by their superiors. To buy the drink, the coin would be given in hand. They would slap the coin on the desk with a firm slap, thus acknowledging their success.

As you can imagine, the history of challenge coins can be dated as far back as ancient Rome. The etiquette varies depending on the organization. Today, you can easily buy challenge coins from different places.

However, if you are looking for coins in your style, professional custom challenge coins maker can help.

The Purpose

By now, you can imagine that the history of the challenge coin features militaries heavily. There are many traditions that have highlighted the importance of challenge coins rules. Carrying the challenge coins is one of the most important and well-respected traditions.

These coins are generally made from pewter, nickel, or copper, and have several finishes.

Now that you understand the significance of the challenge coins and the role that they play, it’s time to focus on the rules of the challenge coins and how they work.

A Coin Check

The reason why it’s called a “challenge” is because you can challenge someone else to initiate the coin check. In the tradition of old, all you have to do is to slam your coin down on the table or on a bar. All of the people who are in the room and have a similar coin must draw out their coins.

This is known as a coin challenge and makes it easy for the challenger to know that they are in similar company. There are other ways to challenge as well.

You can just take out the challenge coin and hold it on top of your head, and then shout “coin check.” Any other verbal communication is also suitable for initiating the coin check.

In some cases, you might also tap your coin on the table depending on the circumstances to initiate a coin check.

Failing to Respond

If a coin holder fails to respond to the challenge and does not show their own coin, they will have to bear a penalty. In most cases, this penalty is usually a round of drinks that must be bought for everyone who responded in a successful manner.

Of course, the penalty does not actually have to be a drink. It can be anything that both parties agree on mutually. It can be an item or a service, so it’s best if you refer to the specific rules of your group before making a decision.

Another rule of the challenge coin is that other coin holders can mock you as much as they want. You can’t even respond; you will just have to bear the brunt of their mockery.

The First Chance

It’s important to note that those who are not aware of the rules are given a first off, which means that they can get a free pass if they fail to raise their coin. As is the norm with the military, it is important for all the other participants to clearly describe the rules.

To retrieve their coin, a participant is allowed to take a maximum of three steps to walk and pick up their coin.

What If Everyone Responds?

In case every coin holder manages to respond in the room, the penalty is reversed: the challenger will have to honor the original challenge and then buy a round of drinks for all the participants in the room. Again, a penalty does not necessarily have to be a round of drinks.

It could be anything that all parties agree on.

Time or Place

One of the most important rules of the coin challenge is that as long as there are two coin holders or more in close proximity, the challenge can be issued. The time and place become irrelevant.

However, issuing a challenge in times of an emergency or during a funeral or in a shower is not a wise move. There is always a chance that these challenges shall not be honored. But, a challenge issued in the locker room is completely fair and must be honored.

Misplacing the Coin

A common question that most people usually ask is what would happen if they lost their coin? Well, until the coin is replaced, you will have to honor the challenge whenever it is called.

It is critically important for members to realize that the challenge coin is considered a very important medallion and should not be lost. The person who loses it has to pay the price, and this is only done by honoring the challenge whenever it is called.

These are the primary rules of the challenge coin, and it is important that they are honored. It simply shows the importance of teamwork among members of a single service organization and the role they all play.


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