A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion, bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem and carried by the organization’s members. Traditionally, they might be given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. Some challenge coins have created controversy and their creators have been threatened with jail. They are also collected by service members and law enforcement personnel. Historically, challenge coins were presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit. They could also be exchanged in recognition of visits to an organization.
Modern day challenge coins may feature popular culture attributes or organizational values. Modern challenge coins are made in a variety of sizes and are often made using popular culture references, including superheroes and other well known characters in a way that creates a parody.
An Authentic challenge coin is a coin that is approved, funded, delivered to, and dispersed by the unit/command/group it represents.
A Fantasy challenge coin is a coin that bares a logo or emblem that is not approved by the unit/command/group it depicts. Sometimes these coins are designed by former members of the unit/command/group. At times these coins are made for retailers that represent the branch of the military that is depicted on the coin. Other times fantasy coins are designed by others to retail or auction for profit. Although these coins can sometimes be beautiful and eye catching these coins are not authentic.
Replica challenge coins are coins that have been duplicated or replicated to look like the original. These coins are rarely replicated by the original unit/command/group that is represented on the coin.