Challenge Coin: What Are They Made Of Business Challenge Coin: What Are They Made Of
Challenge Coins


Challenge Coin: What Are They Made Of

Posted By Lucy Mcveigh

The use of challenge coins started in the military. It is used to signify membership and pride of belonging to military units. It was also used to recognize bravery and excellent military service. Officers would give these coins to inspire and boost the morale of their troops.

Challenge Coin

In recent years, the coins have found use outside of the military. Organizations would have their own custom challenge coins to denote membership and to honor the achievements of their members. Fire fighters, police departments and other service organizations would give special coins in a coin ceremony to recognize exemplary services.

Challenge coins have also been known to be given in recognition of certain services or in commemoration certain events. During the memorial of the 13 victims who died in the Fort Hood shooting incident in 2009, President Barack Obama had challenge coins specially minted to honor them.


What are custom challenge coins made of?

Coins are made from either zinc alloy cast or die struck bronze. Zinc alloy castings are low cost process, with relatively good quality. Challenge coins made through this process tend to lose its finish (patina) and expose the base metal over time, especially when used as a pocket coin. Zinc alloys are best used when the coins are for decorative purposes only, meant to be displayed and rarely worn.

Brass coins are made using the die struck bronze process. These are more expensive and a far more superior quality over the zinc alloy castings.

Base metals traditionally used in manufacturing challenge coins are brass or copper. A basic challenge coin is 3 millimeters thick and has a diameter of 1.5 inches. Some would prefer bigger versions, usually at 2-inch diameters. The finish would vary and designs can be simple or elaborate. Most of the work in manufacturing challenge coins is on the detail of the chosen design. Most of the details are painstakingly added by hand. The edges are diamond cut and made by machines.


A relatively new technology uses zinc alloys to create custom challenge coins with 3D design features. This new technique is becoming more in demand. The base metal used for 3D designs is copper.

Two main types of challenge coins are manufactured today. The hard enamel type uses hard baked enamels. The coin finish is smooth compared to the other type. The soft enamel type of challenge coin has a textured surface. The designs are stamped above the color-filled enamel. The main difference between the two types is in terms of the finishing process. Smooth finishes of the hard enamel type is done by polishing the raised metal areas until it is at the same level as the color fill of the enamel. In soft enamel coins, they are left unfinished or unpolished, giving them a textured feel.

Regardless of what process is used, each coin is hand turned. Only one coin is struck or made at a time.

Challenge Coins Characteristics

Custom coins are manufactured depending on the preference of the commissioning organization. A Pocket Coin is normally round, with dimensions of 38mm (diameter) by 2.5 mm (thickness). A Presentation Coin or Medallion is often made with dimensions of 45mm (diameter) by 3mm (thickness). Shapes range from round, oval, square, or multisided. Traditionally, they are in a circular or oval shape.

Finishes also vary. It ranges from simple pewter finishes to expensive 24-carat gold finish. Metal finishes can be brass, silver, gold, copper, nickel and bronze. There are also antiquated finishes. Colors are added on soft or hard enamel. Printed insets can be used, with an epoxy coating. The epoxy is scratch resistant and more resilient than metal surfaces.

Author Bio :

Visit Challengecoins4less for free coin quote and art request and order your own custom coin with affordable price and good quality.

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Written by Lucy Mcveigh

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