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This challenge coin, a career commendation medal from the American CIA, came onto the market in 2022. It’s a rare example of political memorabilia that has gained value because of its history and story.
Many people, particularly those not in the military or working in government agencies, are surprised to learn how widely challenge coins are used. They are used by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps and fire departments, police departments, and various non-profit groups. These organizations utilize challenge coins for multiple purposes, such as demonstrating membership and raising money for charity endeavors like disaster relief.
The challenge coin pricing quotes affect the size and the coin’s value considerably.
Although they are typically more expensive, larger challenge coins might also be more aesthetically arresting because of their size. However, if a coin is intended for everyday wear, the best choice is typically one around 2 inches in diameter. This size balances size and aesthetic impact, weight, and portability. Smaller coins can be carried in a pocket or wallet and easily concealed. More significant cash would be more challenging and could draw attention from strangers.
Depending on the coin’s design and purpose, the coloration can impact its value. Silver and gold plating are popular options, creating a more refined look. They also pair well with enamel colors like red and blue. However, making a standout challenge coin with a matte finish and a single bold color is also possible.
Often, challenge coins are used to tell a story. They may display rank or branch and show specialized units within the military that don’t get much recognition. It makes them a great way to identify fellow service members and instill pride in their squad.
One of the most famous challenge coin stories involves a pilot who carried his squadron’s challenge coin during a mission. He was captured by the French army and faced execution, but he presented his coin to the soldiers, who recognized it as his squadron’s insignia and delayed his execution. It’s an incredible story demonstrating the importance of military tradition and the power of a challenge coin.
The more intricate the design of a custom challenge coin, the higher its value. The same holds for how many different colors are used and the level of plating. All of these factors add up to the total cost of production and drive up the price.
The history of a challenge coin can also impact its value. Some have been associated with scandals, making them rare and valuable. It is particularly true if the scandal involves a high-ranking military officer or any other entity with significant power.
As a result, these types of coins make great collector’s items. They have a rich legacy behind them and represent the values of an organization, creating an emotional attachment with its members. The sentimental value can convince a buyer to pay more than the actual market value. It is the case with coins attributed to a famous person, such as Virginia Hall, a trailblazing agent of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II.
Many people who have served in the military hold their experiences, lessons learned, and values tight to them long after they leave the service. One way to show this is through the presentation of a challenge coin.
The sentimental value of a challenge coin can significantly impact its overall worth. For example, top officials’ coins are considered more valuable than lesser-ranked individuals. The same can be said of rare or highly detailed challenge coins.
As such, it is vital to consider the sentimental value of a coin before determining its price. It can be done by researching its history and the story behind it. For example, this challenge coin depicts the Office of Strategic Services as a precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency. It was presented to its recipient by then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo. It was offered for sale on eBay in 2022 with a listing price of $3,000. However, the seller accepted a lower offer. The coin was deemed highly sentimental for its significance to the intelligence community and Pompeo’s legacy.
As with any collectible, the rarity of a challenge coin can increase its value. For example, a rare coin issued to commemorate a significant event will be worth more than one commonplace. It also matters how many coins were made and how they were distributed, as this will affect how rare a challenge coin is. In addition, a challenge coin associated with a scandal or is otherwise noteworthy may be more valuable due to its scarcity and the sentimental value it holds for its owner.
Challenge coins are small medallion-like tokens that display an organization’s emblem or symbol. They’re typically round, but some have unique shapes and cutouts that make them more attractive. Although military units first used them, the tradition has expanded to include law enforcement officers, athletic teams, private companies, and school alum groups. Their original holders often highly value these coins because they represent a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Additionally, they can be a way to honor heroic people or events from the past.