Custom military coins are small medallions or coins with an organization’s emblem, carried by the members of the organization. Also known as challenge coins, they are given to enhance the morale of the members or to prove that a person is a member of the organization. Apart from this, they are collected by service members.Custom military coins are believed to have originated in the World War I, particularly from the United States Army Air Service – the origin of the Unites States Air Force. Several United States Presidents, like President Bill Clinton, displayed several custom military coins given to him by the Unites States service members. President George W. Bush, who had an unexpected but short visit in Iraq last 3rd of September, 2007, received a challenge coin from a combat patrol unit of the U.S. Marines. Barack Obama, United State’s current President, placed military coins in memory of the several soldiers killed in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.
Custom military coins are used for several things. They are mostly used to recognize or to award a soldier for an excellent job or performance. They are also used when showing gratitude to a unit during deployment to an adversarial place to boost their morale.
There are two common types of military coins: hard and soft enamel. It can be either stamped or etched, even in 3D. It may be very simple or very colourful too. Military coins are usually made with custom designs of the military branch with their organization logo.
The artworks on these coins are very special and attractive. However, if you think your coin is not as shiny as it was before, it is best to leave the job to trained professionals. Cleaning these coins can leave scratches or spots on them. If you feel that you really need to clean your coin, the following steps may be done to minimize the risk of damaging those precious coins.
The process of cleaning a custom military coin involves soaking, re-rinsing, brushing, drying and spot cleaning. The process is meticulous, thus, it is highly advisable to leave it to the professional ones.
Soaking the coins helps to remove the dirt or stains. This is far by the best option to avoid damaging your coins further. There are two ways on how to soak the coins: the Water Cleaning method and the Vinegar Cleaning method. If using ordinary water did not fix your problem, then, the second option will be the best choice.
Water Cleaning Method
1. Under running water, preferably cold, wash your coins.
2. Don’t touch the surface of the coins as it may leave small scratches in it. Hold the coin on its edges to protect the coin’s surface.
3. Run the water over the coins for about a minute or two. High water pressure is better in cleaning the coins.
Vinegar Soak Method
1. Soak the coin in vinegar. If there are slight remains and dirt on the coin after the water cleaning method, soaking the coin in vinegar for a few minutes might do the trick.
• For coins made of gold, soak them in soapy water that’s very hot.
• For old coins, soak it in vinegar for 24 hours the least.
• For ancient coins or bronze coins, soak them in distilled water or most preferably in olive oil for several weeks.
• For coins made of silver, nickel or copper, soak them in distilled water. If the coin has tough stains which can’t be removed by soaking in water, use white vinegar. For silver coins, you may soak them in lemon juice for six minutes. It will not only protect the coin but it will also give it a shiny finish.