FBI Challenge Coins: Everything You Need to Know

Some people think that the tradition of challenge coins started back in World War I.

Regardless of where the challenge started, FBI challenge coins are still popular even today. 

But what should you know about these challenge coins and what do they look like? Keep reading to find out all you need to know!

The History

Before you can learn everything about challenge coins, you should learn the history of the program. It started in the military, but it quickly went to other branches, like law enforcement.

The custom coins were collected for crucial points in someone’s career, like a promotion, a good mission, a celebration, and even small steps in an internship. 

The coins can symbolize a story of your time at the FBI, and each person’s collection tells a special story. It has so much more value than just a regular coin. These are earned through conflict and struggle, but it also shows how much you accomplished.

These coins are very important, so they often have high-quality designs to showcase the women and men who serve in the United States, both in the military and law enforcement. 

The Tradition

Passing these coins down turned into a tradition through different organizations. Normally, people passed these coins together in a handshake by passing a coin to the palm of their hand. 

The tradition was to pass the coin secretly, and it wasn’t supposed to be seen or known. It was a sort of informal award or tradition, and it was never officially recognized by the heads of the organizations.

However, another interesting tradition with the challenge is when colleagues would go out drinking. At a bar, if someone presented a challenge coin, everyone else at the table would have to as well. 

If everyone presented the coin, then the challenger would have to buy the round of beers. If anyone didn’t have a challenge coin to present, then they would have to pay for the round of beers. This helped to boost employee morale and comradery. 

What Happens When You Receive a Coin?

When you receive a coin, it depends on who presented it to you. In the United States military, you might get one when you neven start your service. The same can be said for the FBI as well.

When you receive one, know that you’re valued as a member of the team or you were honored for outstanding achievement. This is a piece of art on a sentimental level. 

It’s always an honor to receive one of these coins.

Different Styles

There are many different styles of coins, and there are even custom challenge coins that you can get. Normally, they’re round-shaped, and they’re about 1.75″ and 2″ in diameter. There are some that are different shapes as well.

The challenge coins have gotten even more popular, and now people are getting creative with their designs as well. Some of the coins have different shapes, and some are easily recognizable and non-recognizable. 

Some coins also have different cutouts and some have holes to add onto a necklace or string.

Some people also keep them by turning them into a bottle opener. This will help keep with the tradition of drinking beer from the coin check. You can always send your coins to other companies to have them turn the coin into something that you will be able to use every day. 

These coins are also a clear connection between law enforcement and the military because they have a lot of similar duties. Many veterans are also in law enforcement, so they have similar-looking coins. 

In the FBI, they like to make their coins unique and different. That’s why there are many odd-looking coins in the FBI. For example, there are many different graphic coins as well with images that aren’t generally safe for work. 

There are many inside jokes put on these coins, but that only adds to the comradery. 


Many people want to trade their challenge coins. There are actually different networks to trade your coins with other people as well. 

You can find these trading networks on Facebook groups, own websites, and anywhere else. Some people will argue about different trading options to get a rare or awesome coin.

Some people are obsessive about collecting these coins, and some people just browse to see the complex and artistic value. Some people will even try to buy these coins.

They can be sold for money, and some of the rare coins could be worth up to $50. But rather, it’s more for people’s personal accomplishments, so they’re very sentimental. 

The Coin Check

In some cases, you’ll be required to do a coin check. 

This is a challenge to a specific organization that will use these types of coins. One person who holds a coin can present their coin, and then other people have to produce their coin.

This is meant to be a playful and fun challenge, and it gives people a reason to hold onto their coins and carry them around. 

Discover More About FBI Challenge Coins

These are only a few things to know about the FBI challenge coins, but there are many more facts to learn.

This is only one common tradition out there, but there are many more of them that you might find interesting. Are you interested in learning more about fun traditions like this one?

Check out our website to find even more great articles!

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