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Military Challenge Coins for sale Australia with Sabre

Sabre is delighted to introduce what will be an expanding range of challenge coins and challenge coin openers for sale.

We acquire ours from the specialised manufacturer who is commissioned by many famous Australian military units to create their unit challenge coins.

Most units of the Australian military now have a challenge coin custom. They were until comparatively recently more strongly associated with the United States Military, but now Australian, British, Canadian, New Zealand and other NATO nations have taken up the tradition of acquiring and using challenge coins.

Challenge coins are small coins, medallions or even combination bottle openers that can carry a unit’s insignia or artwork of a specific mission or alliance and are carried by the unit members.

In history they were intended to prove membership and these days are used more to enhance morale and commemorate certain unit traditions or operations. They are also a highly collectable item by service members and collectors of militaria.

They are often awarded by unit leadership for achievements, or presented to visiting VIP’s or other unit members.

They can be used to challenge other service members in a bar by slapping it onto the bar or holding it aloft. If the people challenged can produce their coins, you buy, if they cannot produce their coins on the spot then they must buy for you.

There are several theories about the origins of challenge coins. Amongst these are:

The Romans rewarded soldiers with specially minted bonus coins for special achievements. These could feature the marks of their Legion. Some soldiers would keep such coins as mementos instead of using them.

In Renaissance times some carried ‘portrait medals’ that could be exchanged featuring details of person’s lineage or trade.

During the religious wars of the 17th century certain groups carried special coins to indicate themselves as members of that side of a conflict.

A popular story is of a WW1 US Fighter Squadron that used specially marked coins. One young pilot wore his around his neck and upon being shot down and taken prisoner, used it to prove his identity as an ally after escaping and trying to cross French lines where he was though an imposter. When he got back to his Squadron it became a tradition and superstition to always carry the coin, and to challenge each other in bars with them.

During WW2 special units of the OSS would also use specially marked coins to prove identity, as would other spy agencies who would look for certain coins in combination with other methods to verify friend from foe.

US Forces in the Vietnam war would use a ‘coin check’ to verify that a unit member was an actual combat soldier before allowing them to drink in certain bars. This tradition carried on after the war, especially with Special Forces and Airborne units.

Challenge Coins get used in military units today as informal recognition of membership and also formally to recognise rewards or achievements from unit commanders, for proficiency on courses or involvement in operations.

Many specialised challenge coin collectors will acquire them for their increasing numismatic interest and value.


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