Military Coins

5 Things You Probably Do Not Know About Military Coins

military coinsNot everybody is familiar with military coins. The people who are usually very knowledgeable about these coins are the members of the military units themselves and their families.

Here are five interesting things that you maynot be aware of regarding these coins.

1. Do you know how these coins started?

Many stories have been told regarding the origin of these coins. One of the earliest story known occurred in Ancient Rome during the war. After a day’s battle, the enlisted soldiers usually lined up to receive their pay. The commanding officer of the unit would usually add what they call “bonus coins” to the regular pay of those soldiers who performed very well during the battle. These coins bore special marks signifying which unit they came from. These coins represented bravery and exemplary performance. The soldiers valued these coins and kept them, instead of spending them.

2. Do you know why it is sometimes called as military challenge coins?

Military coins are known as challenge coins. Why? There was a local tradition that started way back World War II. The German nationals would slam the table with a pfennig check, which was the lowest denomination of coins then, and as a response, one should show a pfennig check, too. Failure to do so would mean the challenged man would pay a round of drinks to the challenger and to the rest of the men with pfennig checks. However, if the coin was produced, the challenger would be the one to pay the round of drinks. This tradition was meant for camaraderie and fun. When some of the Americans saw this, they imitated the tradition and replaced the pfennig checks with military coins to challenge other members of their team. That was how it was called as challenge coins.

3. Do you know that there are several ways to acquire these coins?

Originally, you can only acquire these special coins by joining the armed forces. These coins signify allegiance to a specific unit. Military coins were also given during recognition of stellar performances in war or other heroic activities. Today, even civilians can own military coins. Usually, these coins were handed down from the older generation to the next one in the family. It has become a heirloom, whether it is financially valuable or not. The stories behind the coins are in themselves, legacies of the family already. Others receive these coins as gifts. Lastly, one can be an owner of the coins by buying them. There are many shops online making and selling specialized coins. You could also find special coins being auctioned.

4. Are you aware of the secret handshake?

Placing the coins in the palm and transferring it unto the hands of deserving soldiers during a handshake was done during the 2nd Boer War. The British, in their fight against the South African Colonists, hired mercenaries to aid them. As mercenaries, they were not allowed to receive medals for exemplary services done during the war. Instead, these medals were forwarded to non-deserving commanding officers. According to the story, the non-commissioned officers would secretly get the medal, cut the ribbon and hand it to the brave mercenaries as their way of showing appreciation.

5. Do you know what is the status of the coins now?

Military coins have evolved. Today, there are many non-military coins in existence. They were made for the same reasons as the original coins. They are used as a form of identity, to show appreciation for excellent work, and to promote camaraderie and brotherhood. In addition, they are also being distributed as promotional items and gifts.

Military coins were also given during recognition of stellar performances in war or other heroic activities.

Military Coins

Cleaning your Custom Military Coins: Soaking Method

coinCustom 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.