If you’ve been around the military or police force much, you know what a challenge coin is: a coin minted and used as a symbol of recognition and belonging within an organization. These coins are sometimes awarded to members of the organization by officers for various achievement milestones. They are often presented in a presentation case or box and are valuable collectibles.
Because they are typically custom-made, they don’t have to be uniform. Each coin is different from its previous iteration, yet all bear the same symbol of belonging. If you want to give an award to someone or simply want something different for yourself, a custom challenge coin might be just the thing.
There are many ways to create a challenge coin of your own. Here are five different methods to consider as you go about it.
1. Incorporate a Unique Design
Coins are round and metallic, but oftentimes the coins that we enjoy the most are the most unique. With the correct tools, you can design a custom challenge coin. You will want to make sure that the artwork created reflects your purposes. The added texture or color will help distinguish your coin from other coins. Also, it helps make it more memorable than your average round metal coin.
2. Utilize the Internet and Other Resources
The Internet is a source of many resources related to coin making. There are online resources that will help you create your artwork, as well as sites that claim to provide coins for free. Look for coins online, such as firefighter challenge coin. Try to search different periods as well. It might be possible for you to bring back a unique style that was present in the 1940s. You would be surprised to see what is out there.
Also, try to find out if there are any coin-making resources in your area. Several clubs or organizations meet up to create custom challenge coins for their own purposes. You might find some local information and then take it from there.
3. Explore Your Coin’s Concept
Organize your thoughts, collect your content, and create a concept for your coin design. There are even some coins created to represent a unit’s nickname. Consider what you are trying to accomplish when creating the design for your custom challenge coin.
For example, if you’re considering implementing a custom coin with more than one plating style, it’s not a bad idea to think about how coin designs can change the way the details and designs are displayed. Once you have a design, you will want to figure out the best way to produce that design, whether stamped, etched or engraved.
4. Plating Options Matter
Sometimes the coin’s overall design can require plating options. The plating options will usually depend on the design features you are looking for. If you’re looking for a gold or bronze color, then you will probably want to consider an electroplated nickel or copper. It’s also good to consider the design’s nature. Some designs are very shiny and would not look good on nickel or copper plating. Other designs have a more patina-like feel, and those work great on copper or even bronze plating.
If you are making a coin to have a unique-looking presentation box, this is probably an important factor to consider.
5. Localize Your Design
How you present your piece will depend on the area of the world in which you live. Custom challenge coins are not typically created for a specific geographical location. However, that doesn’t mean there can’t be some sort of local element incorporated into your coin. Perhaps you want to include the logo for your company or a local symbol that only residents would know about.
Aim to include text, imagery, or symbols familiar to the local population. This will help you in the presentation of your product as well. Seek out a local artist and see if they can help you with your design. You might also want to see if there are any local manufacturing resources that can help you out. Don’t be surprised if some of the best resources for your project are located in your backyard.
It will probably take you a couple of tries to get the design just right. That’s okay. Keep at it, and soon you’ll have a custom challenge coin that people will admire.