The Challenge Coin dates to as early as Ancient Rome. It is believed that if a soldier performed well in battle that day, that he would receive his typical's day pay and a separate coin as a bonus.
That coin was specially minted with a mark of their legion from which it came, prompting some men to hold on to their coins as a memento rather than spend it on celebration.
Today challenge coins are typically presented as tokens of achievement, signification of being a part of a particular unit, or as a gift to a special visitor to an organization.
Upon receiving a challenge coin, comes the fun part! The COIN CHECK!!!
Stories say that the challenge began in Germany after World War II. Americans stationed there took up the local tradition of conducting “pfennig checks.” The pfennig was the lowest denomination of coin in Germany, and if you didn’t have one when a check was called, you were stuck buying the beers. This evolved from a pfenning to a unit’s medallion, and members would "challenge" each other by slamming a medallion down on the bar. If any member present didn’t have his medallion, he had to buy a drink for the challenger and for anyone else that had their coin. If all the other members had their medallions, the challenger had to buy everyone drinks.
These are the rules for Mountain Freedom Coins:
- If a member of your group slams his or her coin on the bar/table each person of the party must then display their coin.
- If your fellow hiker is unable to produce a coin, or their coin has a lower class ranking, then they buy a round of drinks.