Challenge Coin Etiquette: The Rules of the Game

Lauren Deegan

Challenge coins have a rich history that some say dates back to an elite flying squadron of World War I. Their use during that time might have been minimal, but the concept took off during the Vietnam War. Challenge coins are still popular today. While they’re often associated with the military, other organizations give out challenge coins too.

To an outsider, a challenge coin might look like nothing more than a fancy collectible. It’s true that these coins are collector’s items, but they’re also shrouded in real tradition. Challenge coins indicate membership in something important, and there are rules that govern them. Playing the game by throwing down a challenge with a coin is something with which every coin owner should be familiar.

Contact Cristaux to start designing your challenge coins today.

Custom Gold Medallion Coin And Presentation Case

Challenge Coin Etiquette Note-by-Note

It’s an honor to receive a challenge coin. That’s why it’s important to know the etiquette surrounding these important mementos. When you use challenge coins the right way, you’re contributing to a time-tested tradition that inspires camaraderie and membership. Here are the twelve essential rules you’ve got to follow if you want to play the challenge coin game.

12 Rules

1. The rules of the game should be given or explained to everyone given a coin. It’s rude to call out a challenge if you haven’t broken down the way it works ahead of time.

2. Coins must be carried at all times, and challenges can be called out anywhere and at any time. You can only take four steps in order to reach your coin.

3. The challenger must clearly state whether the challenge is for one drink or a round of drinks.

4. If the person challenged fails to produce the coin, the challenge must be honored, and drinks must be purchased. Each person can only be challenged once.

5. If everyone who is challenged manages to produce a coin, the challenger is on the hook to buy the drinks. Be careful of who you challenge.

6. Never hand someone else a coin in response to a challenge. Doing so is the same as giving the person the coin. The coin can be placed on the table, and anyone who wants to examine it is honor-bound to return it to its original location.

Learn more about custom medals.

Canon Million Dollar Club Silver Medallion

7. If you lose your coin, you’re responsible to replace it as soon as you possibly can. Losing your coin doesn’t absolve you from responsibility to follow the rules of the game. In other words, you’re buying a lot of drinks if you lose it.

8. There are zero exceptions to these rules. They apply whether you’re wearing clothes or not, so think ahead. Remember, you’ve got four steps to get within arm’s reach of your coin.

9. A challenge coin is a coin. It’s not a belt buckle or bracelet or necklace, so don’t use it like one. The exception is for coins that are carried in a pouch around the neck.

10. You must control your coin at all times. It indicates honor, so you shouldn’t give it to just anyone.

11. You may not drill holes in your coin.

12. These rules apply to anyone worthy to be given a coin, anyone who’s known to own a coin, and anyone who buys a coin.

Discover the best materials for challenge coins.

Years Of Service Medallion Wood Presentation Box

Keep Traditions Alive

The bottom line is that a challenge coin is a thing of honor, and you should treat it like one. At Cristaux, we’re proud to make only the best challenge coins. That’s why we love celebrating and supporting the traditions surrounding these remarkable pieces.

Our team is equipped and excited to help you bring this type of program to your organization. Our artisans and engineers will work closely with you to ensure a striking and creative design.

Browse our portfolio for examples and inspiration.