Aside from having served for several years in the armed forces and fighting a few battles, there is usually one more thing that veterans share in common: ownership of custom military coins. These coins were either awarded to them as special citations or were distributed to the entire unit as special tokens. These coins are often used by servicemen to challenge each other just for fun.
This special challenge is normally referred to as a coin check challenge. There are a few rules that have to be obeyed when issuing a coin check challenge, including:
1. Challengers have to present their custom military coins in such a way that the challenge would be heard or noticed by as many coin-owners as possible. This includes holding the coin up in the air and screaming their intent to issue a coin check challenge. Another way of presenting the challenge is by slapping it hard on a table, so as to create an audible noise.
2. There are no accidents when it comes to a coin check. In case somebody drops his coin and it makes a sound that is audible enough for others to hear, then it has to be considered that a challenge has been issued. This practice effectively ensures that each serviceman would take good care in handling his coins, thereby ensuring the coin’s longevity.
3. Everyone who hears the issuance of the coin check challenge would have to respond by presenting their custom military coins. The manner of the response should be done in the same way as the issuance of the challenge. All the screaming about coin checks or the slapping of coins on tables often contribute to the rowdiness and the aura of fun in crowded bars.
4. Those who are challenged are only allowed to reach for their coins by taking a single step from where they are currently standing or sitting. If the coin is still unreachable, then they would be allowed to extend their arms to reach for it, but would not be permitted to take another step forward.
5. The challenge can be issued to anybody regardless of the time or place.
There are two possible endings to a coin check challenge: the challenger either pays the tab for everyone he has challenged, or someone else pays for it. The first scenario only happens if everyone presented their custom military coins, while the latter scenario happens whenever someone else wasn’t able to present his coin.
This tradition not only ensures that drinking sessions between military men contain loads of fun and noise. It also ensures that each serviceman upholds the military’s code of honor by facing the consequences of not having his custom coin at hand. Anyone who does not abide by the rules is punished, mostly by having to return his coin to the person or company that gave it to him.
Ownership of custom military coins also ensures that former servicemen remain loyal to their units. After all, the coins would serve as tokens that would remind them of a special event that happened during their time in the service.
Because of all the values that custom military coins uphold, a lot of non-military organizations have also gotten into the tradition of forging their own customized coins. Some organizations give the coins away in the same manner as the military: as tokens of appreciation for a job well done.
However, there are also a few organizations that make use of custom challenge coins for marketing purposes. They often have hundreds of challenge coins forged with their logos and then have these distributed to the public through various means. Any member of the public that manages to get hold of these ‘special’ commemorative coins can exchange these for a product or service from the marketing company.