History of Challenge Coins The origins of the challenge coin are a matter of much debate with little supporting evidence, most common with many military traditions. The story is........ Each member of a particular WWI airborne squadron was given a bronze medallion by their lieutenant. One of these soldiers was captured by the Germans and later escaped, only to be re-captured by the French. The French, not knowing that the soldier was a friendly American, were set to execute him. But before the time came, one of the Frenchmen recognized the medallion that was worn by the American and his life was spared. Why Are They Called Challenge Coins? Following World War I, it became a growing tradition to carry these medallions, or "coins", and it was a fun little game that gave them the name "challenge". It went something like this... Squadron members would challenge one another to reveal their coins. If the member being challenged did not have his or her coin on them, they would have to buy a drink for the person who challenged them. If, however, they could produce the coin, then the challenger had to buy them a drink. Thus, the "challenge coin" evolved. Challenge Coins today Today challenge coins are everywhere in the military. Besides using coins for challenging, they are also used as rewards or awards. Most higher ranking officers have challenge coins made so that they may give them out as rewards. Bill Clinton had coins made so that he could give them out to military people. Getting a challenge coin from high ranking official was like be one of the proud and the few. Most of them would get 1000 coins made and they were usually numbered so you were only 1 of 1000 to have the coin. Almost all career military people I now have a challenge coin rack with all of the different units that they have been in. Many other organizations have also adopted the challenge coins like police departments, fire departments, nascar, NFL, colleges, fraternities, special clubs, etc. Are Challenge Coins Worth Collecting? Most coins are really not worth much and really only carry sentimental value. Many collectors just collect them for the fun of it. I collected them while I was in the Navy and have about 10 of them but I only bought a couple of them and the rest were given to me. Getting your own challenge coins made!! There are lots of companies out there that will make the coins for you. It usually cost a few hundred dollars to get the die made and then only a few dollars for each coin to be produced. Below is some websites of companies that make challenge coins. http://www.militaryservicecompany.com/catalog.aspx?catid=CustomCoins http://www.challengecoinusa.com/faqs.html http://www.allaboutchallengecoins.com/ Pictures This coin was bought at the gift shop in Pearl Harbor.