Challenge coins have been in existence since the time of the Roman Empire. Back then, the coins were used for the sole purpose of rewarding soldiers who showed exemplary feats in the battlefields. Some historians also believe that the coins were given to mercenaries in lieu of medals of valor. This was believed to be the best way to boost the soldier’s morals by letting them know that their hard work is recognized by superior officers.
Nowadays, aside from serving as a token of recognition, custom challenge coins also serve the following purposes:
1. As collectibles or memorabilia
Challenge coins are no longer just confined within the military. Its presence has slowly penetrated the outside world until it reached the notice of various commercial establishments. These establishments have then banked on the coins’ reputation to increase their customer count. This is mostly done by releasing a limited number of custom challenge coins to the market every few years or so. These coins are pegged as rare collectibles that often signify a special company event and come in a series that often tells the story of the event. People often complete their collections by purchasing specially marked products and trading with other collectors.
2. To promote group loyalty
Groups that involve voluntary membership often have to rely solely on their members’ loyalty for longevity. This is especially true if none of the members are receiving any form of compensation. This is why most groups often distribute custom challenge coins to each member. Normally, the group would have a certain criteria for choosing the members who are qualified to receive the coins, such as the years of membership or the significance of the individual’s contributions. In some cases, groups also give out coins to members who belong to the same batch of recruits or that have gone through the same challenges together. This effectively promotes a higher sense of camaraderie between each member.
3. To promote an increase in employee productivity
Some leading corporations have also gotten into the trend of using custom challenge coins in recognizing top-performing employees. This has been known to motivate employees into giving a keener focus on their tasks, thereby increasing employee productivity. This would eventually lead to a marked increase in company profits. The coins are often distributed during company events where other forms of awards are also given out, such as certificates and the like. Just like in private groups, companies also often use the challenge coins to recognize tenured individuals for their loyalty.
The military, civic groups, private organizations and corporations are not the only ones who can take advantage of challenge coins to enhance morale or to simply cement their place in posterity. Anyone who is interested can order a challenge coin from any coin manufacturer and have it engraved with their chosen design. As a matter of fact, the latest trend now involves the manufacture of these coins as wedding souvenirs. Custom challenge coins have already established its reputation as a token of unity. This is why it is no longer comes as a surprise that hundreds of couples have chosen it as their wedding souvenirs instead of the usual arts and crafts.
In the case of celebrity weddings, the coins are often created by enterprising individuals who then put it out for sale before and after the highly-anticipated wedding event. Perhaps the most famous wedding challenge coin ever created are those that were sold in the days and weeks that led up to the famous royal wedding of Britain’s Prince William and Catherine Middleton (now the Duchess of Cambridge). There were different coins released back then, each with its own unique design. One thing that all the coins had in common was that it had the royal bride and groom’s face engraved on one side, although some coins had colored engravings while others did not. To this day, the coins are still being sold on several online stores for 1-5 cents apiece.
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