History narrates the origins of the challenge coins as those that have been started by the military. Its branches have spread out, and some of these coins have been given out by the government, specifically the President of the United States (moving forward – referred to as POTUS), Vice President of the United States (VPOTUS), and the other White House staff.
Challenge coins were first introduced by President Bill Clinton, next is President Bush, and after him, President Obama. The first VPOTUS who made the coins was VP Cheney. A small number of these kinds of coins have been created compared to Presidential coins (commemorative, inaugural and tokens) on which thousands have been manufactured.
Both the POTUS and the VPOTUS usually only gave these coins to Military members, to their families, some dignitaries, and to those who have exhibited their support and loyalty to the country in their own ways.
Coins Issued by the POTUS
Here are the coins issued for Barrack Obama:
It has been said that coins given by Barrack Obama are a tough catch. It’s even a treat to see him give one to his men, and witness the encounter end with an electric smile. The stash of coins is carried inside the pants’ left pocket on the front side. A coin is quickly retrieved by the left hand, transferred to the right hand, and then the ‘secret handshake’ starts. Before, the handshake was somehow awkward for Obama, but now the technique is definitely more developed.
He also placed coins on the soldiers’ memorials – soldiers who were killed in the Fort Hood shooting in 2009. He also leaves these coins on fallen US soldiers’ graves to honor their contribution to the country.
Here are the coins issued for George W. Bush:
The former POTUS George W. Bush was said to reserve his stash of challenge coins for those wounded servicemen. He had a small stack of coins with him almost all the time, like those of poker chips on his desk for quick draws. If you see someone who has coins given by George W. Bush, most likely that person got wounded in combat, hence definitely deserving of the coin.
In 2007, during the former POTUS’s short yet unexpected visits, instead of giving a challenge coin, President Bush received one from one of those Marine Control Units. This was in Iraq’s An bar province, specifically in Al-Assad Airbase.
Here are some of the coins issued by Bill Clinton:
Former POTUS Bill Clinton had various racks full of these coins mostly given to him by service members. The racks can be found behind his desk in the Oval Office. The coins are currently displayed inside the Clinton Library.
An Established Custom
The act of handing out these challenge coins is a ritual that has been present in the military for a long time. Aside from the previously displayed presidential coins (which are understandably the ones that are most coveted), lawmakers and high-ranking officials are also said to distribute them.
To add, the POTUS have given these souvenir coins to diplomats and foreign dignitaries as an indication of welcoming and honorary membership.
Already Within Reach
If after all that you’ve witnessed made you want a challenge coin for your own collection, fear no more. It’s not too difficult to have these coins. Again, you don’t have to be a diplomat or a soldier to obtain one.
As previously mentioned, having coins like these no longer need you to take the heroic and/or violent path. You can now easily request and purchase one. These types of souvenir coins are available at stores today.
Have your own challenge coins and show your patriotism and loyalty.
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