Challenge Coins!

By April 19, 2011Comms

Challenge coins are a longstanding military tradition. They’re somewhere between a medal and a shinier, cooler version of business cards. Apparently warfighters aren’t the only ones with magpie tendencies. The Washington Post recently posted an article on the civilian world getting in on the act, with challenge coins being minted for everyone from politicians to police officers.

Well, you know me, I never buck a trend.

Much of the story in my SHADOW OPS series centers around a fictional military unit, the Supernatural Operations Corps, or SOC. More specifically, a specific unit in SOC, Coven-4/Umbra Coven (C4-U) is the center of the action. When I was planning for this site, I commissioned the crests for those units to be created.

Later, I was considering how best to use the crests beyond the website. The publisher might want to put them in the book. Could I also put them on baseball caps? T-shirts to give away as reader prizes? Challenge coins were the natural evolution of this thinking. With a little help from my friends, I was able to get actual SOC challenge coins minted. I’ve given a few away to those who’ve been particularly supportive of my writing, dear friends, my agent and publisher, my family.

But I have now given my first one to a fan supporter, Stephan of The Ranting Dragon, who was the first person to interview me since I went pro. Stephan is Dutch, so it’s also the first SOC coin to make it overseas. Stephan posted pictures of the coin yesterday.

Pretty cool if I do say so myself. I will be making up C4-U coins at some point, and will likely host a reader contest with coins as prizes. In the meantime, I wanted to congratulate Stephan. As the first holder of a SOC coin in the fan/blogger community, he’s got a special link to the SOC, and to me. He’s what we call a “Plank Owner” in the military seagoing community.

I look forward to seeing where else I’ll see SOC challenge coins winding up in the future. The campaign to find worthy holders of them will spin into high gear as the book gets closer to publication.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to pack up my life and move to Brooklyn for good.

Author Myke Cole

Myke Cole is an American writer of history and fantasy who leverages a lifetime in military, law enforcement and intelligence service to take you to battlefields, real and imagined.

More posts by Myke Cole

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Mike Lee says:

    This is a brilliant idea. My best friend Paul gave me a challenge coin from his Marine unit just before he deployed to Iraq. It remains one of my most treasured possessions.

    I’d be thrilled to earn a C4-U challenge coin. Looking forward to hearing more about the campaign in future.

    Mike Lee

  • Challenge Coin says:

    A challenge coin is a
    small coin or medallion bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem and is
    carried by the organization’s members. They are given to prove membership when
    challenged and to enhance morale.

  • Rick says:

    This is a good idea. Challenge coins go back further than most articles give credit for. Military coins in the US date at least to the civil war and in other countries earlier than that. There are even medallions struck from the bottom copper of HMS Victory and the USS Constitution. I own one of them. There is a good military coin history page on this web site: It is the only one I have found that speaks about suttler’s coins.

  • Natasha Knight says:

    I think you are the first person who has ever thought of that! Thumbs up! Well, why not right? Thumbs up!

  • Gerry says:

    Challenge coins are so cool – the most widely known civilian Challenge
    are probably the AA chips, but I really like the idea of making one for your fioctional purposes – Umbra 4 is such a classic name, and the design you developed is really good; I can picture it in color enamel. I wonder if they were ever left at battle scenes like the custom playing cards some units used to let the enemy know they had been there. Excellent post!

  • Leanne says:

    Great article! Im a challenge coin nerd 🙂 I found a really cool challenge coin infographic, which is hard to come by, trust me. I’m pretty sure its free to share if you think you or your readers will like it! Heres the link:–name-Challenge-Coin-History


  • vrishtiRathore says:

    It is along lasting military tradition to honor the soldiers with army
    challenge coins
    and those coins are safeguarded by
    them till their life time.

  • embleholics says:

    If you want to buy and sell your own challenge coins, you should check out the challenge coin exchange at it’s also free.

  • vrchallange coins says:

    It is a great tradition to reward the soldiers or fire fighters with custom coins or firefighter challenge coins because it is the best memorable gift.

  • Adam Smith says:

    Nice article! Challenge coins is the best gifts to recognize the brave works of a person. Challenge coins are given in fields like military, army, firefighters department, police department, etc. Each and every department has there own coins like military challenge coins, law enforcement challenge coins, firefighter challenge coins.

  • Spartcoins says:

    Challenge coins are also best gift for military peoples. Coins carry the priceless memory; you can also get custom made coins for retired military peoples online from

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