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The Fascinating World of Police Challenge Coins

Published: November 22, 2023

What are Police Challenge Coins?

Police challenge coins are small medallions or tokens that are custom-made for law enforcement agencies. They typically feature the agency's emblem, logo, or other significant symbols and are carried by officers as a symbol of pride, camaraderie, and accomplishment.

Origins and History

The use of challenge coins can be traced back to ancient times when they were used as a form of identification or proof of membership. In the military, challenge coins have been used since World War I to recognize the brave actions and achievements of soldiers.

The tradition of police challenge coins is believed to have originated in the United States in the 1980s. It is said that a police officer gave a coin to fellow officers as a token of appreciation. Since then, the practice has spread across various law enforcement agencies, becoming an integral part of their culture.

Symbolism and Significance

Police challenge coins hold great symbolism and significance within law enforcement communities. They represent a sense of unity, camaraderie, and honor among officers. Carrying a challenge coin is a way for officers to showcase their affiliation with their agency and demonstrate their commitment to serving and protecting their communities.

Types of Police Challenge Coins

There are various types of police challenge coins, each with its own unique design and purpose. Some common types include:

Department Coins: These coins typically feature the agency's emblem, logo, or motto and are given to officers upon joining the department.

Special Unit Coins: Special units within law enforcement agencies often have their own challenge coins. These coins may highlight the unit's specific role or achievements.

Commemorative Coins: Commemorative coins are created to honor specific events, anniversaries, or fallen officers. They serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by law enforcement personnel.

Challenge Coin Size

Law enforcement challenge coins come in all different shapes and sizes but are most commonly found in round shapes from 1.5 to 2.5 inches in diameter.

Collecting and Traditions

Collecting police challenge coins has become a popular hobby among both officers and civilians. Coin collectors often seek out rare or limited-edition coins from different agencies as a way to appreciate the diversity and history of law enforcement.

In addition to collecting, there are various traditions associated with police challenge coins. One common tradition is the "coin check." During a coin check, an officer may challenge others to present their challenge coins. If someone is unable to produce their coin, they may need to buy a round of drinks or perform another agreed-upon task.

Where to Buy

There are tons of great places to purchase custom challenge cons, but our favorite website to purchase custom challenge coins is Police Life Apparel https://www.policelifeapparel.com and which features great designs, fast turn around time and reasonable prices.


Police challenge coins are more than just decorative tokens; they hold deep meaning and significance within law enforcement communities. They serve as a symbol of pride, unity, and honor among officers. Whether collected as a hobby or exchanged as part of tradition, these coins represent the unwavering dedication and bravery of those who protect and serve our communities.

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