Featured Vintage Challenge Coins

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Jwt708, May 29, 2019.

  1. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Hello everyone! Those of you that have kept up with me the last couple of years know that challenge coins are a passion of mine. If you don't know, challenge coins are a sort of unofficial medal given from one military member to another - typically as recognition for a job well done but also to commemorate certain missions, deployments, or sold as a symbol of unit pride. There are a few stories about the origin of challenge coins, however, I'm in agreement with numismatist, retired Master Sergeant Ray Bows that these stories are legends. If you would like to read his opinions, check out the article below:


    Over the years in my military career, I've accumulated a few. These are the first coins I've collected, even before I considered myself a collector. As I began collecting trade tokens and learning more about military monies, challenge coins became an interest, specifically early examples. I only "collect" coins relevant to me and what I consider early examples. I've been fortunate here recently to acquire a few examples and would like to share them.

    Below is the 2nd Infantry Division "penny". This one I've had for a while but thought I would toss it up here since it is specifically mentioned in the above article from Bows.
    2d Inf Div Penny.jpg
    The date and the hole makes it special. Another Army challenge coin:
    Always First.jpg
    The above Army token is from the 1st Engineer Brigade which was originally formed 15 May 1846. I imagine this coin is not very old 80s, more likely the 90s. Not a lot to learn from this coin except the unit.

    From Europe:

    USAFE 56-A.jpg
    This one was made by a specific class while attending the Non-Commissioned Officers Academy. USAFE stands for United States Air Force Europe and 56-A is the class designator. 56 would be the year, and the A is which session. I actually attended the USAFE Academy in 2016 and my class was 16-2. I want to reach out to the Academy and see if they have any historical information about the class - if it was held at Kapaun Air Station, Germany at the Kisling NCO Academy (that's where it was when I went).

    Spangdahlem 25th Anniversary.jpg
    This is another from Europe, from Spangdahlem Air Base. The base is still in operation and currently flies F-16s. I have one trade token imaged from Spangdahlem AB handy:
    GR1410c Spangdahlem AB 25c.jpg

    I'm not sure what the Frontier Fiesta was, but I imagine it was an air show type of event. This piece is more like a typical trade token - made from aluminum. I love that it's dated with the launching missile.
    Offut AFB Frontier Fiesta.jpg
    Some trade tokens from Offut Air Base:
    NE270b Offutt AFB 25c.jpg

    NE280c Offutt AFB $1.jpg
    NE280e Offutt AFB $5.jpg

    I hope you all enjoyed my most recent additions to my vintage challenge coin collection and the associated tokens. I'm certain many do not collect these - tokens or challenge coins, but feel free to share any you have! Here's an example of what current challenge coins look like:
    Fuel Systems Repair Tech School.jpg
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  3. MommaHenn

    MommaHenn Active Member

    Jwt...nice little collection above. I know a little bit about challenge coins, as my hubby retired in 2013, after 27 years in the Air Force. Do you carry a coin on your person at all times when you’re out? lol I have a small Spouse Coin and a Challenge Coin that stays in my wallet at all times. Hubby has quite a few CCs, as he was weapons, and when he was TDY or deployed overseas, CCs would be exchanged. So he has a few foreign ones; I’ll try to find and upload pics. Even tho he is retired, he is still a government worker who still travels to foreign countries and still obtains foreign CCs. They are pretty cool coins to collect! Thank you for your service too!
  4. Tlberg

    Tlberg Well-Known Member

    My oldest brother clued me in on Challenge Coins. He & Dad were Navy & I have a civilian version. Thanks for your service Sir.
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  5. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Very cool! I'm at 15 years in the Air Force...and counting. I hope to see his collection, I'm aircraft maintenance as well.

    Thank you for the support!
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  6. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the support! Feel free to post the coins if you can.
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  7. Tlberg

    Tlberg Well-Known Member

    It's not Vintage ;) 20190528_085516-1.jpg 20190528_085535-1.jpg
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  8. MommaHenn

    MommaHenn Active Member

    Here’s a few, but not of the foreign ones...I think those are tucked away.
    8633A1CD-309E-475E-B923-438E46AE8159.jpeg AEF83ACB-C450-42AC-ACD2-0198A8FC09AE.jpeg
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  9. longnine009

    longnine009 Most Exalted Excellency

    Really nice looking pieces and great info--thanks. :)
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  10. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Very nice @MommaHenn , thanks for posting them!
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  11. longnine009

    longnine009 Most Exalted Excellency

    I'm not sure if this is a challenge coin or a tribute to forces that were in Iraq. It was given to me by a member from another forum known as OldDan. He was a machinist on a submarine in World War II. On his first patrol they dropped him off on a Marine island to work on something. They were supposed to pick him up in 2 weeks on their way back but the sub was sunk. Everyone was lost. He stayed on the island until the war ended four months later. RIP Gene.

    IMG_20190530_071333.jpg IMG_20190530_070958.jpg

    Attached Files:

  12. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    @longnine009 from what I've seen, OldDan's gift was definitely a challenge coin. Most I've ever seen would probably be best described as a commemorative medal. In the last 15 years I've only seen coin checks done when I was in Korea but my understanding is that piliots and other aircrew members are better stewards of the tradition...maybe since they have bars...excuse me I mean heritage rooms...in their squadron buildings.

    That's also quite the story from OldDan. Guess someone was looking out for him.
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  13. MommaHenn

    MommaHenn Active Member

    I agree that it is a CC. A nice one at that. You should write that story down and keep it with your coin. I’m into genealogy as well so anytime there is a special item that most likely will pass down through the generations, always write its story.
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  14. MommaHenn

    MommaHenn Active Member

    I’ve never heard it called a heritage room, but coin checks were usually done during big to-dos. You NEVER wanted to be without a coin as your wallet would suffer! To see a coin check was fun and it could be quite amusing!
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  15. Sylvia Hughes

    Sylvia Hughes New Member

    I have this coin i inherited from my father. It’s from Korean War and i was told it was one of the first to be recognized and started a trend for future challenge coins. 1950-1952 Buffalo Bill 17th infantry Korea. It’s my new favorite possession! I can’t upload the image tho.
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  16. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    This collector of challenge/handout coins has a custom made display case for them:

    Gentleman at desk with custom-made coin display of "challenge coins"

    The collection is growing.
    He used to have one display case but now has two cases.

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  17. vintagemintage

    vintagemintage Well-Known Member

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  18. MontCollector

    MontCollector Well-Known Member

    The guy I traded this from had it labeled as a Military Challenge Coin. Not sure if it actually is one or how old it may be. MilitaryMedal.jpg
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  19. Circus

    Circus Tokens Only !! TEC#4981

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  20. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Hey how cool is that, my first featured thread!
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  21. longnine009

    longnine009 Most Exalted Excellency

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