Collectors hoard a lot of things, for a lot of reasons. Some collect books; some keep toys. Others are simply obsessed with anything that feature their favorite colors. There are those who deal with psychological disorders that triggered them to hoard addictively. On the other hand, there are those who simply collect as a hobby. Almost everything is being collected – from paintings, movie posters, shoes, fountain pens and so on. Of all the items being collected, military coins are among the less known and less common ones.
These coins originated in the military. Military men first collected these coins which are also known as challenge coins.Nowadays, the tradition of military collection goes beyond the military.One of the reasons military personnel have in collecting challenge coins is the symbolisms of the military coins. Upon graduation in military school, they will receive their first ever challenge coin. Their first challenge coin may feature their graduation year, their batch motto and logo, and their alma mater’s symbols.A soldier’s first military coin represents his triumph over academic challenges and the rigorous physical trainings attached to their course. It also promotes a sense of unity among the batchmates. It may serve as identification too.
Once the graduates are hired in the army, air force, marines, navy and coast guard, they will have more chances of acquiring a military coin. Challenge coins are being rewarded to military personnel for various reasons. Just like in ancient Rome where army officers gave their army men coins as a form of payment, though some of them took the coins as a memento that’s worthy to be kept.When a military man showcased his bravery in line with his work, he may be awarded military coins. Those who display service that is remarkable and worthy of imitation may receive challenge coins as well.One of the purposes of the modern-day military coin tradition is to boost the morale of those in the military. Those who received challenge coins because of their performance are more motivated to outdo what they had done. Meanwhile, those who are not able to bag a challenge coin will be encouraged to do more and perform better.
A collection of challenge coins acquired by a military man through performances is like a status symbol in their world. Having more challenge coins may mean that one is of higher rank than others.
Apart from services, performances and graduation, a soldier may also acquire a military coin through his membership to different units. However, not all units may have a symbolic coin for their group.
Military coins may also be passed on from one soldier to another. There could be an exchange of challenge coins. There may also be instances when a higher-ranking official secretly gives a military coin to one of his trusted men. When an official retires, he may opt to pass on not just his position but a military coin as well.
Perhaps, one of the most publicized challenge coins awarding was done during the day when American soldiers who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq were recognized for their bravery. The publicity helped in increasing public awareness regarding the ancient-old tradition of those in the military. The coins given may not be sufficient to represent the government’s gratitude for the soldiers’ services. But there noteworthy services will forever be represented with their challenge coins.
Military coins are not just acquired prior and during service in the army. World War II veterans receive challenge coins during special occasions such as anniversaries. With those symbolic coins, their services in the past will be honored continuously.