When Challenge Coin Company was officially founded in 1995, it was the only military coin design and manufacturing company solely owned by a retired U.S. Veteran. Started years earlier by COL Vincent A. Zike as more of a hobby and convenience than a serious business endeavor, increasing requests from other soldiers, officers, and units turned CCC into the multi-million dollar business it is today. Aquired in 2012 and now under the umbrella of Ira Green, Inc., Challenge Coin LLC stands proudly alongside other recognizable brands such as Sta-Brite™, Brigade Quartermasters™, and Bear Forces of America™.
Challenge coins have become the number one souvenir collectable for the US military. Almost every unit now has its own coin. Many officers have their own coins to award and provide ‘on the spot’ recognition to his/her team members. From the earliest days of this tradition, the coins were carried to show membership in a unit. Soldiers from as far back as the Korean War would “challenge” comrades by showing their coins. The challenged soldier would have to present his or her coin or “buy a round”. If the soldier challenged had the required coin, the challenger would then be required to buy the round. Little has changed to date.
Challenge Coin History
The earliest documented US military unit coin is one made in the 1950’s for the 17th Infantry in Korea, 1950-1953. The coin is the size of a nickel and finished in bright silver. Challenge coins in the size and style as we now know them surfaced during the Vietnam War era. Thanks to modern manufacturing techniques a nearly endless variety of colors, finishes, and textures are now available.
Challenge Coin Company was built on a foundation of service to our nation and honor to our heroes. To that end, the coins sold displaying the POW/MIA logo are produced under agreement with the National League of Families for POW/MIA from SW Asia. The sale of those coins provides funds to help that organization achieve its mission. Challenge Coin Company is also honored to produce the official coin for the Tuskegee Airmen's Association.