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History of the Challenge Coin

According to one story, challenge coins originated during World War I. A pilot placed a medallion he had received from a fellow pilot in a small leather pouch that he wore about his neck. Shortly after acquiring the medallion, the pilots’ aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire. He was forced to land behind enemy lines and was immediately captured by a German patrol. In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took all of his personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his neck. In the meantime, he was taken to a small French town near the front. Taking advantage of a bombardment that night, he escaped. However, he was without personal identification. He succeeded in avoiding German patrols by donning civilian attire and reached the front lines. With great difficulty, he crossed no-man’s land. Eventually, he stumbled onto a French outpost. Unfortunately, saboteurs had plagued the French in the sector. They sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian clothes. Not recognizing the young pilot’s American accent, the French thought him to be a saboteur and made ready to execute him. He had no identification to prove his allegiance, but he did have his leather pouch containing the medallion. He showed the medallion to his would-be executioners and one of his French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the medallion. They delayed his execution long enough for him to confirm his identity. Instead of shooting him they gave him a bottle of wine. Back at his squadron, it became tradition to ensure that all members carried their medallion or coin at all times. This was accomplished through challenge in the following manner – a challenger would ask to see the medallion. If the challenged could not produce a medallion, they were required to buy a drink of choice for the member who challenged them. If the challenged member produced a medallion, then the challenging member was required to pay for the drink. This tradition continued on throughout the war and for many years after the war while surviving members of the squadron were still alive. We proudly continue this tradition today with the challenge coin.

The Challenge Coin has a nice story, and I have some so ‘What do I do with them?

Treasure it, remember how you came by the coin. In 30 years of active duty service I was fortunate to receive 100s of coins and every one of them had a positive memory associated with it. I remember those I served with, the good times and the tough times. I remember the units I visited and the peers who helped me succeed. Today many coins are given by seniors to acknowledge outstanding performance. Display your coins with pride, they are part of your legacy. If you find yourself in a drinking establishment, the standard challenge coin rules apply: Your coin represents your affiliation, support or patronage to the unit or organization that minted the coin. If you find yourself in a drinking establishment and you don’t remember how you got there, call a cab, go home. You may “challenge” any individual who you know has a coin. A challenge is made by withdrawing your coin, raising it in the air or by tapping it on a bar or table. When you challenge someone, they are required to produce their coin within 60 seconds. If the ‘challenged’ individual produces a coin, you are obligated to buy them a beverage of choice. If the individual fails to produce a coin, they are obligated to buy you a drink! The same rules apply if someone challenges you! If alcohol is your beverage of choice, please be responsible and use your designated driver. We want you home safe!

What are the steps for placing an order?

Fill out a coin request at this link: I think I want a coin!
Email the form to us along with your ideas for a coin. We will assign you a customer ID number. Using your new customer ID # in the subject block of any future e-mails will help us keep track of your order!
We will create your design and email it back to you for your approval.
You approve the design.
The design is sent to the factory to make a die and the first coin.
A digital sample is usually ready in about 10 – 14 work days. The pictures are e-mailed to us and we will send them on to you.
If you want an actual sample we will provide that to you before your final production request.
Once you approve the sample your order is minted.
Your order is usually completed in 14 to 20 workdays.
We ship via UPS or USPS depending on where it is going!
We can do a RUSH but ya gonna pay!

What if color matching is important to me?

OK, some of us want everything to be just right, others are a little flexible. We can work with all types of customers. If you tell me you want the outer ring of your coin to be blue I say “sky blue?’ and you say “Sure, why not?” then I’ll figure out a nice sky blue and we go from there. On the other hand you may say “I want the outer ring to look the blue sky in Hawaii in Oct 2001. Hey I’m going to send you the table below and tell you to go crazy. That color is there! Next, I tell the factory you want color # XXXX. You will have that Hawaiian sky! PANTONE Color Charts to match colors (click here)

What’s the first step?

Your coin design can be e-mailed to us in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, .Tif, .JPG or .pdf format. The better your original images are, the better your coin will look. We would rather you sent the images you want on the coin rather than trying to put the design together in Power Point or Word. Power Point is fine if you want to send it to give us an idea of what you’re looking for but we will need the full size images to design your coin. We use professional programs like Corel, Illustrator and Photoshop when designing your coin. We will look over your design and let you know if there are any areas that need fixed. You can e-mail your design by clicking here and attaching your image files. You can help us by including your customer ID in the subject block. There is no cost for us to evaluate your design or make suggestions to produce a better coin. There are certain special processes needed to re-create portraits or 3D type facial features on a coin. If your coin requires a special process we will tell you up front. We will be honest with you and tell you the total price before you place your order. There are no hidden charges. When your design is finished and ready for your review, we will email it to you.

What is a ‘fair’ cost for my coins?

We use several factories that have been creating military challenge coins for over 20 years now. They offer us a good price because of the volume of business we do with them. We pass that savings on to you. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is very nice. In most situations I do not charge a die fee. This can save you money. If you check my prices they are reasonable. Compare them with other companies. My prices are not the lowest. I cannot be the lowest price and not charge a die fee. My prices are fair, take a little time and look around. I have said it before, there are some very good coin companies out there, I’d like to think I’m just one of them.

What if I need a coin designed?

If you don’t have a design I can help create your coin for you. We do NOT charge for our design service as long as you are buying your coins from us. I will take the high quality artwork that you e-mailed us and arranging it on the coin layout to your original specifications. We have an extensive collection of military clipart already on file that can be used for your design. Once we have the design done and approved and you decide to change the design there may be additional charges associated with your order. I will try to minimize this. If this does happen the design fee is based on $50.00 an hour. If you want me to design a coin for you and you choose to have it made somewhere else the design fee is $150.00. If we work on a design for you, and you decide to cancel the order, I will charge the $150.00 design rate for your coin. Your design will NOT go into production until you give your final approval and proof the coin for layout and spelling.

Can I re-order my coins?

When you’re ready to re-order your coins, just send us an e-mail! We will place your re-order and charge you. Minimum re-order is 25 coins and there is a surcharge for the smaller number. For re-orders of 100 coins or more, I will give you a 10% discount.

When do I pay for my coins?

When your order is finalized (after you approve production artwork), we will send you an invoice and instructions on payment. We recommend that payment occur at this time. That said, we are a small enough company that if you cannot pay up front — we will work with you. Our goal is for you to have coins that you are proud to hand out. We trust everyone, until you give us reason not to. We expect you to live up to your part of this contract when we live up to ours.

Do you guarantee your coins and what is your return policy?

We make every effort to give you a quality coin at a fair price. I want you to be satisfied with your coins. If the coins are what you ordered then I expect payment. All moving parts and the battery is guaranteed for life! (Gotcha!) Your coins are unique to you and your organization. We make every effort to insure that the coin you ordered is the coin you got. If that is the case there is no return policy. If you did not review the design carefully and now you notice a problem, I’m sorry but that is the coin you approved. There is no return policy. On the other hand if the coin you received from Kidder Corp is not correct we will fix it at no cost to you.

I’m a procrastinator yada yada…I need Rush Service.

If you have an order that you need to rush, we can produce your coins and get them in the mail (normally) within 30-35 days. We do this by moving your order to the front of the job que for production. During high production periods this may be slightly longer. March – October is the busiest time of the year for most coin companies so plan ahead and allow yourself enough time to complete the job before you run out of time. (Normal turn around is 45 days from start to finish if you are doing a regular order.) When doing a rush, a sample coin is not minted so your deadline can be met. You as the customer, agree to allow the die maker artistic license to use his professional experience when minting your coin. Every effort will be made to match your design intent and the colors if your coin is painted, but we will not be held responsible for interpretation or color errors since a sample coin is not proofed. (The purpose of the sample is to proof the first coin minted, ensure the overall design is correct, all colors are placed properly and the right colors are used.) We use PANTONE Color Matching numbers when we send your design to the factory so the chance for error is very low! Customer assumes all responsibility of the final order with the exception of an error caused by us during the die process. If we make a mistake on the die, we will re-do the coins and mail them out at our expense. Customer is responsible for proof-reading the design and giving final approval, via e-mail, before the design goes to the die maker. By giving your approval, you are stating that the design is correct in the placement of all graphic images, spelling and grammar. You also agree to accept the colors as painted in your full order, when your coins arrive. We can provide this Rush Services at a small additional cost, to meet your time critical deadline. When doing a rush, full payment is due prior to beginning your order.