Coins are universally known as those small pieces of silver or copper, which are used as currency. They’re used for trade, allowing the bearer to buy something of value. In fact, even before paper currency was used, most of the countries in the world used coins to trade goods. The coins of that time looked like flattened pieces of metal which may or may not have inscriptions on them. Soon after, uniform pieces of precious metal were used as coins. These had values inscribed on them, which allowed for easier trading.
However, despite this, did you know that there are other uses for these coins aside from trade?
Basically, anything that takes the shape and form of the modern coin can be called a coin. This means that even if it has no value, for as long these are uniform pieces of precious metal with writings inscribed on them, these may still be called coins. This is where custom coins come in.
Custom coins are coins used for other purposes. These may be used as a form of memorabilia, or even as an award given to a limited number of people. Banks sometimes even release commemorative custom coins in honor of something like the arrival of the Pope or the centennial anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
One such use of these custom coins is for the Armed Forces. Each unit typically has its own custom military coin, designed with the unit logo and colors. These coins serve as a means by which they could foster and strengthen the camaraderie within the present members of the unit, and sometimes even those who used to be part of the unit. Each member of the unit is given his own coin, which serves as proof that he indeed is a member of that unit. This boosts the soldier’s morale because it emphasizes that he is an integral part of a team. Consequently, a soldier who has high morale is more likely to perform better in more ways than one.
Furthermore, this is also a means by which past and present members of the unit become bonded. This is particularly important for units like the Elite Special Action Forces, where membership is a lifetime commitment. It enables the soldiers to form a brotherhood of some sort. Sometimes, this is even used to create small exclusive groups within a unit. For example, a handful of soldiers who were part of a specific mission are given these custom coins after their mission, either as a form of commendation for having successfully completed the mission, or as a form of memorabilia for the members of the team.
Moreover, this may also be used to award a soldier for outstanding service or exemplary performance of duty. Someone who has just finished his tour in a war-torn area may be awarded a military coin because of his bravery in battle. This is why these coins are much coveted in the military culture. Having one is like a symbol that you have done very good work and that your country is proud of you.
Next time you get some non-monetary coins in your hand, check them out carefully. Read what is inscribed and check what they are for. These coins can symbolize a lot and most likely, they have a story behind them. It would definitely be interesting to discover the stories as to why these coins were made and why the recipient was given the custom coin. Who knows, you may have gotten your hands on a very limited coin that is worth a lot.