Challenge coins are more than just pieces of metal with designs on them. They are symbols of honour, achievement, and belonging. They hold great meaning and carry significant memories for the people who receive them whether it be in the case of special events, occasions, celebrations, etc.
The challenge coin minting process is not an easy task by any means. It takes many different steps and procedures to create a single challenge coin that meets all of the requirements.
But how are they made? And what goes into the unique whole process of custom coin minting? In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating world of challenge coins and find out how they are created!
The significance of the challenge coins.
Although it's impossible to determine the true dates of the origins of the challenge coins, throughout history it can be observed very few, but yet prominent occurrences of the challenge coins. The instances of metal coins can be seen even back in the Ancient Roman Empire. The history behind the challenge coins and tradition is quite impressive.
Some of the definite documented examples of the challenge coin were seen back in the First World War, where they were given to the soldiers of the United States air force. Nonetheless, the idea behind the challenge coin remained the same, where the metal coin would be given to anyone throughout history be it the air force, other military units, royalties, wealthy lieutenant, fire departments and any other significant individuals throughout the historical events to recognize achievements.
What is the purpose of the custom challenge coins in today's world? Why are they important?
Today, challenge coins are still widely used and highly sought after. Many military units and special forces teams issue challenge coins to their members as a symbol of recognition and an award for the individual's achievements within the field. Additionally, police challenge coins, firefighter challenge coins and first responders coins are becoming more and more popular.
Corporate customers often order challenge coins as employee recognition gifts or promotional items for their organization's members. However, we offer challenge coins not only as recognition of a special achievement but also as a custom souvenir for the special events in our lives such as weddings, schools graduations, anniversaries, etc.
Challenge coins may become a great piece of memory that will remind you of all of the amazing things that were happening in that special moment for your loved ones.
So you may be asking how are challenge coins made? The process of custom coin minting can be quite complex at first sight or even intimidating, yet it can be very simple once the process is understood.
Luckily the whole process of production of a challenge coin is not as complicated as it was back in the day when the process of creating the coin could have taken days if not weeks, or even months in some cases, with countless tools and materials to complete the coin.
The minting of a medal coin involves many important factors, and the coins cannot be done without them playing a huge role in the process. Each of the steps ensures that the coin will look well put together and complete. Let's take a look at the challenge coin minting process.
The first step in making a challenge coin is to come up with a design that will later serve as a mold for the coin. Design is a crucial part of the coin and probably one of the most important steps in creating a challenge coin because it makes up the whole appearance of the coin creating custom artwork on your medal coin.
To make your challenge coin truly special, it is important to come up with a unique design that you may want your challenge coin to have.
Challenge Coins Gallery
Hover your mouse on coins to see the back side
How is the design is created for the coin?
The image of the specially designed coin may be made by the designer or you may come up with the design yourself. At Strike Your Coin every order comes with free artwork design for your coin. The design must consider many of the aspects. It must illustrate and convey the idea or it must serve as a representation of what the customer is requesting.
The custom challenge coin designer will usually start by creating a sketch of the design based on your descriptions and requirements for the coin. This is often done in pencil to get the ideas down on paper. Once the basic design is complete a digital artwork is made.
Get Started with Challenge Coins
Strike Your Coin has been creating custom coins and custom medals for almost a decade. We have shipped thousands of challenge coins of various sizes and shapes to our customers all over the world. We've worked on making custom Canadian coins as well as USA challenge coins.
Please feel free to fill out the below form on this page today to get your quote. We'd love to help you create a unique and memorable challenge coin!
Why is design so important in the process of creating a challenge coin?
The design is going to hold the visual information of the challenge coin. It is important to create a custom design for both sides of the coin if you wish your coin to be double-sided. They may be different, they may be the same on both sides, the possibilities are endless.
The design may have any symbols, illustrations and colours you may desire. The most important thing to remember within the procedure of creating the design is making sure that the design conveys and represents the exact idea or purpose of the coin through images, symbols, etc.
To make your coin truly unique it is important to consider the following things to include within the design of your coin, such as:
Event information such as the date or the location of the special occasions
Your special quote, slogan or motto
For corporate coins, it may be beneficial to consider the organization's insignia or even the brand logos
Any text or image that you may wish your custom coin to have
What is the minimum quantity for a custom coin project?
We have a team of experts who work quickly and efficiently to ensure that you get a quick response with a free custom coin mockup and price quote. You can count on us for any size order, no matter how large or small the project may be! There is no maximum or minimum quantity that we cannot handle.
We have worked with hundreds of complex designs and you will have unlimited revisions before final artwork approval of your project.
Get in touch today to learn more about military challenge coins.
After the design is finalized, the metal needs to be chosen for minting the challenge coin. The most popular choices have always been gold and silver colours for custom challenge coins. However, challenge coins have been minted in other materials and colours as well, such as solid bronze, copper, brass and other metals back in the old days when the challenge coins were just starting to gain recognition. The weight of the coin is important as well when choosing the challenge coin's characteristics so that it feels substantial when held in your hand.
Challenge Coin Size
Additionally to weight, of course, one of the other factors that affect the weight that is as well just as important to consider is the size of the challenge coins. The diameter of the challenge coin may range anywhere from 1.5 inches to 3 inches. Choosing the right size for challenge coins is a significant part of the production of the custom challenge coins since it will further expand and create a canvas to navigate and make the challenge coin that you desire and have envisioned.
1.5" Custom Coin
2" Custom Coin
2.75 Custom Coin
Custom Coin Mold preparation
The coin mold or die is what stamps the design onto the blank coin. They sort of work as a mold for the blank coin. This step is done right after the metal material has been chosen. The dies must be precisely machined so that every detail of the challenge coin's design is transferred to the coin.
This is a key and most significant step as this is the part in the process that will result in the images developing into a stamp-like shape which will be further transferred onto the coin.
We make it easy to create Custom Challenge Coins
And here is what our customers say:
I had very short notice to design and mint some coins during the holiday season. When I gave them my desired delivery date, they clearly explained the latest that we could submit the design. They also helped me flesh out some ideas before finally deciding on a final one. They were very responsive even throughout the holidays, and were able to help design, mint, and deliver the coins just in time for Christmas. Thanks for all the help!
Daniel de Sao Jose - Google Cloud Team
Strike Your Coin was a fantastic help to the Terry Fox Secondary after-grad committee in creating a special momento for the Grad Class of 2020 during the disappointing cancellation of all of the usual grad celebrations due to Covid 19. Artur designed a fantastic coin using the input we had given him and went above and beyond to ensure they were manufactured and delivered in time for the schools alternate drive thru commencement. Not a simple task considering the short turn-around time! The coins are stunning and will be a meaningful keepsake that the grads will have for years to come. Thank you Artur for your hard work and contribution to what will turn our to be a very memorable grad after all!
Tricia Fung - Terry Fox Secondary School
Striking the Coins
The blanks are placed between two dies and struck with a tremendous amount of force, which results in the coin design being impressed into both sides of the blank coin since most of the challenge coins are double-sided. Die striking has been the process date back to the old days as mentioned previously in the post. The pressure must be just right so that the details on the die are accurately reproduced on the challenge coin.
If the coin is not pressed on hard enough, the designs may not come out as precise and accurate as you may have desired, which is why the right amount of force is required to strike the coin to ensure that all the design details get minted correctly.
During the process of striking the coin, we also check on the way the dies or the so-called mold perform on the coin. Sometimes the die or the mold may not appear as desired, which may require reworking through the design to figure out the way of creating the exact image that is desired for the custom challenge coins.
Challenge Coins Polishing Process
Working with such solid and hard materials as metal that involves a process such as cutting delicate and small designs to be cut will cause a harsh finish to the cuts that the die leaves on the coin. After the coin is struck, it goes through a polishing process to give it its desired finish. The most popular finishes are matte or antique.
Then, the challenge coin is finally inspected for any errors that may have occurred during the minting process before packaging and shipping. In some instances depending on challenge coins and their designs, polishing may take place as the last step, or the step after colouring custom coins. These small cuts may require some polishing or so-called "buffing" to be done to prevent these harsh lines and cuts.
This is an important step in any creation of the coin because those harsh lines may be painful to touch the coin and it will not be as pleasant. Also, it wouldn't be only the texture that's affected, but the overall appearance will be affected too as the harsh cuts and lines would make the challenge coin look less appealing and less delicate. However, polishing in the process will leave with a smooth and even finish on the surface of challenge coins.
Ordering custom challenge coins
Many different online companies make custom challenge coins. Make sure you place an order for custom coins with a reputable company like Strike Your Coin. We've been producing bespoke challenge coins for almost a decade, and our design team has seen a wide range of challenge coin designs.
We've developed a custom challenge coin design template to help you get started with your police coins. Just print out this template and provide us with your design ideas. Our team of talented artists will take your design and turn it into a beautiful, one-of-a-kind challenge coin.
By all means, it is not a requirement to use our challenge coin design template. Just give us a call or fill out our online form and we'll get back to you with a quote and free coin artwork.
No matter where you order custom police coins, make sure you provide all the necessary specifications so that you get exactly what you want. Finally, you should 100% guarantee that by submitting designs to our company or any other coin manufacturer the purchasing party warrants they have the legal right to use the images and text associated with the order.
Challenge coins are not always just metal. Sometimes, the dies that create these challenge coins can have different coloured inks added to them so that the coin's design is more vibrant and pops out at you with many beautiful shades of colours which even more enhance the whole uniqueness of the custom coin.
This is once again may not be the step that every coin requires in the process of creating challenge coins. However, the addition of colour may also be a requirement for some challenge coins if it is part of their design. As stated earlier in the paragraph, colouring the custom coins may add the final unique and one-of-a-kind touch to your challenge coins.
The die is then cleaned with a solvent to remove any debris or oils that may have been left on the surface after the striking process and colouring. This will ensure that no contamination occurs between different coloured challenge coins. If this step is skipped then it may affect the overall outcome, which may cause the whole process to be started over.
The coin edges are the final, yet very significant part of the challenge coin. It gives the finishing touch that puts together the whole custom coin together. Coin edges are the outer part of the images of the coin after they have been struck. They give the coin a truly exceptional look. The edges of the coins may differ in many different designs from the spirals to plain edges to any other edges that you may desire for your custom coin to contain.
Depending on the coin's design this step may even be skipped because sometimes the die or the mold of the design already has the desired edge engraved. However, other cases such as the oblique cut to the edge may require an additional process to coin in which the coin is being cut through the edges by the machines to engrave the design of the edge of the coin.
Challenge Coin Packaging
The challenge coins finally come to an end with their beautiful design and minting process, but they are not done yet. They must be packaged in a way that not only protects them from any external damage but also presents them in a manner that would make the receiver feel special when receiving them. The packaging of challenge coins may include many different styles and methods, but the main goal is to have the coins properly protected while being displayed in a way that would make the receiver feel good and excited about their coin.
At Strike Your Coin every coin is packaged into a PVC sleeve at no cost at all. The next packaging option is a transparent acrylic coin capsule. Both PVC sleeve and coin capsule keep the coin safe while also allowing the coin recipient to observe the coin through the transparent material.
Additionally, if the customer wishes, there is always a possibility to package the coin with the velvet box. This will not only protect the coin but also will provide beautiful packaging, which will make any receiver of such a special gift feel honoured and content with the custom challenge coin.
The challenge coin is now complete! After all these processes have been completed, your challenge coin will be ready to hold and show off the unique design that had put so much effort into creating.
Why order coins from Strike Your Coin?
Throughout this article, you may have realized how thorough this whole procedure of making challenge coins may be. Although it may seem an overly complicated process that requires a lot of attention and dedication, Strike Your Coin makes the whole process easy for our clients.
We've minted thousands of military coins as well as corporate coins, and we can't wait to hear your coin ideas. Every custom coin undergoes manual quality control and we're confident that you will be happy with our product.
Our customer satisfaction team is ready to assist you throughout the whole coin production process.