In a widely reported but probably apocryphal story, challenge coins got their start during World War I, when an American pilot, who had been shot down over France and lost his dog tags, was able to prove his Allied affiliation to French soldiers on the lookout for German spies by showing them a bronze medal made by a wealthy Army Air Service lieutenant.

The more likely origin of the challenge coin, though, dates to the 1960s, when a serviceman in the 11th Special Forces Group (Airborne) overstruck old U.S. coins with the group’s emblem, and passed them out to other members of the unit. The practice was soon picked up by other units and was used primarily as a drinking game, in which members of the unit who were not able to produce a coin when challenged were obliged to buy everyone a round of drinks.

In the decades that followed, challenge coins became a part of military culture—by some estimates more than 10,000 issues have been minted. At the low end of the spectrum are coins produced for lieutenant colonels and sergeant majors in the Army, who pass them out to troops as small tokens, literally, of appreciation. Coins produced for officers of higher rank are more difficult to come by, although challenge coins have been sold in military gift shops since Operation Desert Storm in 1990, so in that sense most are not rare.

Among the most sought challenge coins are those given by the president and vice-president. Reportedly, President Clinton had a case filled with his challenge-coin collection on display in the Oval Office. Challenge coins have also been minted for employees of the CIA and NSA, although, for obvious reasons, they are not used as official evidence of the holder’s employment in either government agency.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Legendary Coins and Currency

Legendary Coins and Currency

This online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is a great way to get an overview… [read review or visit site]

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Home to the Society of U.S. Pattern collectors, this well-organized site provides in-depth information on pattern c… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Rare Nypd Challenge Coin Commissioner O'neal Rare Nypd Challenge Coin License Division RevolverRare Nypd Mortal Kombat Freeze Challenge CoinRare Serialized Nypd Triggerlock Challenge CoinRare Nypd Masterlock Challenge CoinRare Nypd Deputy Commissioner Public Information Challenge CoinNypd Blue Lives Matter Cross Challenge CoinRare Nypd License Division The Second Amendment Challenge CoinRare Nypd Counter Terrorism Division Inter-agency Intelligence Challenge CoinRare Nypd Challenge Coin Police Service Area 1 Tilly Clown Psa 1Nypd Triggerlock Firearms Suppression Division Challenge CoinUltra Rare Nypd Chief Of Criminal Enterprise Division Challenge CoinRare Nypd Challenge Coin Internal Affairs Bureau Lieutenant Commander Star WarsUltra Rare 2015 Nypd Police Commissioner Veterans Day Challenge Coin Not LapdDisneyland Security Edd "explosive Detection Dog" K-9 Challenge Coin / WdwNypd Presidential Election Day Detail 2016 Ticket Challenge Coin Trump ClintonRare Nypd 81 81st Precinct The Nypd Tapes 10-54 Edp Challenge CoinFederal Air Marshal/ Dhs/tsa/police Trump 58th Inauguration Badge CoinNypd First Deputy Commissioner Tucker Challenge CoinVery Rare Nypd Esu A-team Bunker Shield Challenge CoinNypd Police Commissioner James O'neill Challenge CoinRare Nyc Nypd Fdny Gamewell Police Fire Call Box Challenge CoinRare Nypd Iab Group 41 Internal Affairs Darth Vader Star Wars Challenge CoinRare Nypd Police Commissioner Bratton Reengineering 2014 Team Challenge CoinRare Navy Chief Cpo Crg 11 Fighting (bottle Opener) Challenge Coin!Nypd William Bratton Cops Count Challenge CoinNypd Police Commissioner Kerik Challenge CoinNypd Commissioner CoinNypd Gang Shield Challenge CoinChief Usn Navy Cpo Uss America Lha 6 Khaki Ball Challenge Coin #ed 1893056Nypd Chief Of Department Chairman Of The Firearms Discharge Review Board CoinNypd Force Investigation Division Challenge CoinRare Nypd Chief Of Criminal Enterprise Division Challenge Coin*extremely Rare* & Authentic Challenge Coins Fbi/usssRare Nypd Izzo Chief Of Organized Crime Control Occb Challenge CoinRare Nypd Challenge Coin Brooklyn South Task Force BstfRare Nypd Challenge Coin Transit Bureau ImpactDisneyland Security Edd "explosie Detection Dog" K-9 Challenge Coin / WdwCrazy Rare National Intelligence Agency Challenge Coin. Only One Super Limited!!Dd-214 Jack Daniels Veteran Navy Chief Cpo Coin Limited & Serialized - Non NypdNypd Diablo Bld.maintence Challenge CoinAtlanta Braves 1st Game At Fort Bragg Baseball Game Challenge Coin Non NypdMets Military Challenge Coin Non NypdNew Jersey State Police Potus Inauguration Detail Challenge Coin Donald TrumpRare Njsp New Jersey State Police Black Dragon Troop D Turnpike Challenge CoinRare Nypd Police Commissioner Cops Count Challenge CoinUnreal Two Tone Border Patrol Agent Challenge Coin. Very Rare Find Nypd 60th Precinct "tilly" Challange CoinUs Navy Chief Petty Officer 1893 "results" Usn Cpo Undersea Challenge Coin #65Nypd Challenge Coin Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik (red Version)Unreal Airborne Special Forces Challenge Coin. Amazing Detail And Design Rare!!Vaw-126 Seahawks (seattle) Cpo Chief Mess Challenge Coin Navy Chief Nuclear Power Training Command Challenge Coin #ed 295 Cpo Mess Cpoa Fbi "2017 Nfl Draft" Challenge Coin (rare) Authentic!!Rare Nypd Counterterrorism Bureau World Trade Center Command Pope Challenge CoinRare Nypd Chief Of Detectives Boyce Challenge CoinNavy Chief Cpo CoinRare Nypd Challenge Coin Citi Field Detail Glove New York MetsIngress Utah Resistance Challenge Coin15 Coin Challenge Coin Grab Bag, Military, Police, Government, Personal Random