In pop culture, vintage is the new fad. It gives a new meaning to the phrase “old is the new in”. Clothes and items from past eras are what people are looking for nowadays. Among the most sought-after collector’s items are military coins. Some date back from as early as World War 1. These are hard to get because there are only a number of these coins per design, making them rare and expensive. These coins have great values in them.
In the days of their official use, however, military coins did not have monetary value; rather they had tremendous importance all the while. They were originally used for identification purposes. Squadrons had coins printed out in similar designs in order to distinguish members from enemies during the First World War. Legend has it that a kidnapped soldier escaped from enemy lines and was able to return to safe land. However, members of the same alliance were not able to distinguish him and were ready to execute the refugee. Fortunately, he presented his bronze medallion and he was welcomed.
This story gave rise to a simple game composed of the military coins. All members of the platoon were encouraged to bring their medallions at all times. The challenge, as they call it, is the most common and easiest way to ensure if a member of the unit is carrying the official medallion of the squadron. The tradition of the challenge aims to strengthen morale in a given unit. The rules of the game are not formalized and may vary from unit to unit. The game can only be played by members who are officially granted a coin by their unit’s commander. New recruits should not engage in the challenge because it may lead to controversies. New volunteers should wait until a coin has been given to them.
The challenge of military coins can be started at any time of any day. It begins when a challenger draws his coin. He should be able to attract the attention of the other members of the unit. The challenger does this by slapping the coin on a surface for all members to see. In noisy places, the challenger can rap the coin against the table until all members are able to see that a challenge has been called. All other members present should produce their own coin from their organization. They should place it where it is easy for the challenger to see. If a member fails to show his coin, his penalty is to buy a round of drinks for the challenger and everyone who participated in the challenge. At the same time, if every single member of the challenge is able to produce a coin, the challenger is responsible for buying a round drinks for the group.
Other organizations have modified the rules a little bit. While most coins are kept in pockets or hanging from their necks, there are some members who have extra medallions. Some rules have “a step and a reach” imperative where a challenged person can ‘borrow’ an extra coin from another individual. If someone manages to steal a challenge coin, everyone in the game is required to buy a drink for that person. Another rule-bender is when everyone awards the holder of the highest-ranking coin in the game to a drink each. Other versions of the game include a traditional handshake when the coin is passed during the handshake. There is a time limit for the challenged to respond to the challenger.
As people can see, military coins aren’t limited to serving as proof of identification. In times of war, it is welcomed for soldiers to enjoy something every once in a while.