If you have friends or family members in the armed forces, you may have seen small medallions many of them carry around. They’re called challenge coins and they usually have the emblem or insignia of their military unit etched into its surface.  

Traditionally challenge coins are passed from person to person through a handshake, and often, only the giver and the receiver know that a coin has been awarded.   For decades, challenge coins have been used as a sign of unity for those who serve in the military to protect our country and in recent years even the presidents of the United States have been known to award challenge coins to those who serve our country.  The coins are often used to prove membership to a branch or unit and soldiers sometimes receive challenge coins from higher-ranking officers as recognition for special achievements. They consider receiving a challenge coin as a great honor and many even work to collect them.

Challenge Coins are said to have originated in World War 1, when a wealthy lieutenant had coins made for every member of his unit in order to raise pride and morale.  While challenge coins initially came from the armed forces, the tradition of carrying a challenge coin has spread to many different organizations like Fire and Police departments. Challenge coins are now carried by people like law enforcement officers and firefighters to commemorate their service to the country.

Police Challenge Coins

Police challenge coins tell a story. A story not only about the department or organization but also about the person who receives it, the one who makes it and the one who gives it.  Given the close connection that police departments have with the military, the similarity in their work and the number of veterans that work as police officers, challenge coins are prized in many departments across the country and are used at award ceremonies, events and as other informal awards.  Challenge coins are especially common in large law enforcement agencies like the FBI, Secret Service, and Homeland Security.

Challenge Coins as Gifts

Police Challenge Coins can make a great, memorable and long lasting gift for the law enforcement officer in your life.  If you’re looking to get a challenge coin as a gift for our men and women in blue, Armor Coin and Emblem carries a collection of them. The most popular among the collection, the St. Michael Challenge Coin, has the patron saint of law enforcement etched into it. The Thin Blue Line Coin, also in the collection, was created as a response to some of the negativity in the media directed at law enforcement officers. The coin features a lion, which is the law enforcement symbol of courage, honor, strength and integrity, and was created to show respect and honor to those who make sacrifices to make this country a better place for us all.

Whether you’re giving the coin for a special occasion, or just trying to show your appreciation to our officers, the meaning and tradition behind police challenge coins make them a beautiful way to show your support of those who serve to protect us and our freedoms.