Custom military coins started off as challenge coins throughout the second World War. Soldiers back then found time to relax by challenging others and getting free drinks. Get familiarized with this challenge and its rules.
The challenge became a tradition to remember how a "membership medallion" saved a soldier's life. He was under the captivity of French men when he showed them the medallion which made them change their minds about executing him. Those French men offered him a bottle of wine instead.
Since then, each soldier carries a coin as a sign that he is a member of the squadron and he is unified with the rest of the members. To ensure that they would keep their coin with them, they agreed upon a challenge.
A sharp coin sound along with the words "coin check" is the cue. If somebody drops the coin on the floor or slaps it on the table, he is calling for the challenge (whether he did it on purpose or not). The members are given only ten seconds, one step and an arm span to produce their coins. This means that the coin, if not in the soldiers body, should be somewhere accessible. If it is beyond what he can reach after taking one step, he loses the challenge. There is no exception or valid reason. No one could say he forgot.
The coins should remain in perfect condition, meaning there should be no deformities or holes. Soldiers back then considered the coins their sacred possessions; therefore, they should not be made into keychains. The challenge can be started in any place and any time of the day where members are.
The military coin challenge applies to those who own a coin and those who used to own a coin. Once a soldier loses his coin and most members are aware of it, he is in trouble of being challenged and losing often. What happens if someone loses the challenge?
The loser buys a round of drinks for everyone in the room. This is how they defined the loser: if a challenged member does not have the coin, he loses, if all the challenged members can produce their coins, the challenge starter lose. Therefore, in all challenges, a round of drinks is bought.
Coins can be taken away by officials of the issuing agency if the owner committed serious mishandling.
What will happen if the person lost his coin and ran out of money to buy drinks for the other members? In the eyes of his fellow soldiers, he committed a shameful crime. He will not be issued another coin to replace what he had lost and the other soldiers would look down on him.
Custom military coins back then were not collectibles. A soldier could have only one coin in his possession. If he gains another one by extortion or any other means, he has to turn over both coins.
Altering a coin through drilling a hole in it or painting it, stacking multiple coins or playing with them are signs of disrespect to the organization. Doing any of these is synonymous with disadvantages, such as facing dishonour and humiliation.
Nowadays, these rules do not exist anymore. Custom military coins can be drilled, turned into keychains, re-coated and even collected. In addition, military men are not required to bring coins anymore, thus the challenge is no longer done. It cannot be denied though, that the essence of brotherhood and unity in custom military coins is still remembered and members of the military force are still given coins of different sizes, shapes and significance.