A Brief History of Commemoration Coins

2 Mins read


Custom police challenge coins have a lengthy storied history. These commemoration coins were first used by ancient Romans to reward soldiers, which was later adopted by the military. This same pride and camaraderie instilled in military units by the custom challenge coins can be found in police units throughout the United States. Today, police commemoration coins have become so popular that some cities are creating their own custom programs to reward the hard work of the women and men in blue.

Custom commemoration coins are small coins that bear some sort of logo, motto, or insignia to identify the coin’s owner with a particular group or unit. For the military, no one actually knows how these custom coins gained so much popularity. Some stories state that they originated during World War I, while others have indicated that they were used during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Once these custom commemoration coins became popular for the military, it was only natural for them to make their way into law enforcement agencies. Many veterans, after their service, moved into law enforcement careers, such as police task forces.

The design and sizes of police commemorative coins have evolved too. At first, these coins were about an inch in diameter, now the average size is about 1.75 inches, and they come in various sizes and shapes. The advancements in technology allowed for police commemoration coins to be as creative as possible, but one will want to ensure that their core message is consistent across other marketing and community building efforts.

Just as with the military, police and other law enforcement commemoration coins are used to instill unity and recognize excellent work among unit members. An interesting fact about these commemoration coins is that they are not distributed by ceremony, and recognition actually comes in the form of a “secret” handshake, a ritual practiced for a long period of time.

Custom commemoration coins are used to tell a story that created a bond between members of a unit. These commemorative coins can be for particular on-the-job efforts or events, but also community-building efforts as well. Police officers tend to carry or display custom coins that tell a story and remind unit members that they belong to a special group.

Remember that just because the commemorative coins were created and used by the military does not mean they can only be used as such. These coins can be for many special events, including those that brought the community together.

Symbol Arts can create amazing custom commemoration coins for police, and other law enforcement agencies that are sure to look incredible.