Have you heard of the Challenge Coin Community?
Yes, it actually does exist, and it extends beyond the military. An increasing number of Americans are trading and exchanging challenge coins. There’s a whole new breed of collectors, and their interests vary widely. Many favor traditional coin designs: military motifs, patriotic imagery, and so on. But others opt for unique coin creations, ranging from customized business coins to personalized wedding favors.
Some collectors belong to niche interest groups, such as movie, sports, or anime fandoms. Others are members of clubs, churches, or charity organizations. But all have one thing in common. They want a tangible way to showcase their interests and identities. Whether they plan to keep their coins in their pockets or display them on a stand or wall rack, they’re proud of these metal mementos. And they regard them as treasured keepsakes.
Ready to reach the growing community of challenge-coin enthusiasts? Before you move forward, decide which segment you want to target. Then find out where they hang out.
The US Military: Core of the Challenge Coin Community
Exchanging challenge coins has been a military tradition for decades. Some say the current trend began during the Vietnam War. Others claim it goes back much further. Whatever the case, modern members of the military take it very seriously. When a senior officer hands a challenge coin to a subordinate, it’s considered a great honor. It means the officer recognizes the recipient’s outstanding service, valor, or loyalty.
If this all sounds solemn and serious, well, it actually is. In fact, there’s a whole elaborate protocol surrounding these special coins. They must be kept in a safe place, such as a display case or shadow box. (Pockets and wallets are OK for temporary transport.) Holes cannot be drilled or punched into them, and they can’t be worn as jewelry – although they can be stored in a pouch and hung around the neck.
But please don’t be daunted by all this pomp and circumstance. Military challenge coins today aren’t just for vets and active duty. Anybody can purchase them online, at coin shops, or at other offline venues. Plus, any entrepreneur can have them manufactured for sale to anyone else, whether in or out of the military. So, if you’d like to cash in on the military-coin craze, feel free!
What’s More, the Military’s Just the Beginning
In recent years, the challenge-coin trend has spread to all parts of society. Although it’s still associated with military personnel, it’s also popular among police officers, firefighters, Scout troops, politicians, government officials, club members, corporations, trade associations, and similar groups. Plus, it’s becoming a trend among ordinary civilians who simply like to trade and collect meaningful mementos.
How to Reach the Community with Your Coins
As a challenge coin seller, how do you reach any or all of these target audiences? Figure out where they purchase their coins.
Amazon is a great place to start. As the world’s largest marketplace, it’s the first site many people turn when they’re looking for, well, anything. That includes challenge-coin collectors, who go there to shop for:
- Classic military coins
- Patriotic challenge coins
- Police and sheriff challenge coins
- Inspirational coins
- Good Luck coins and more
As an Amazon FBA Seller, you can market your custom challenge coins to the interest group of your choice. It’s easy to get started. Simply sign up at Amazon for $39.99 per month plus seller’s fees.
eBay is another prime place for connecting with the community. Here collectors can find a wide range of coins including:
- “Thank You for Your Service” coins
- Reproductions of vintage military coins
- Presidential challenge coins
- Sports and athletic coins
- Assorted whimsical coin collections with fun, colorful designs
- Patron-saint challenge coins for police officers and firefighters
- And much more!
The market is wide open, especially if you’re offering something a little bit different. To get started, go to the eBay website and sign up for an account.
Then there’s Etsy, the perfect venue for more unusual challenge coins such as:
- Anime challenge coins
- Customized coins for weddings and special events
- Memento Mori coins
- School and college coins
- Decision coins (“flip to decide”)
- Employee appreciation coins…
…plus every other kind of coin you can think of, including traditional military coins. If you have a unique design that appeals to a niche contingent of the Challenge Coin Community, you may want to offer it at Etsy. Get started at the “sell” page on the Etsy website.
Now Comes the Easy Part: Manufacturing Your Challenge Coins
Once you’ve decided on your market and determined your design, contact Sunset Pins & Coins at 1-800-890-2789. Our professional team of coin designers can work with even the most rudimentary concept.
Our seasoned account execs will help you decide what type of coin is best for your purposes: soft enamel, cloisonné, simple die-cut metal, or offset (photo-realism). We’ll be with you every step of the way, from initial idea through final delivery. In a matter of weeks, you’ll have your beautifully crafted coins, all ready to sell online or at crafts fairs, shops, and flea markets.