Challenge coins are dignified symbols of achievement and membership, but like any object, it’s normal to eventually take them for granted. Yet answering a few questions can bring context and regality to any type of coin, especially a custom coin for achievement.
Since money makes the world go around, what is the most expensive coin ever made? That would be the Flowing Hair Dollar, minted in 1794 and priced at $7.85 million. This should make anyone think twice before being careless with loose change.
Since history gives the world a sense of perspective, what is the oldest coin ever made? That would be a coin found in Efesos, an ancient Hellenistic city in Asia Minor, believed to be 2,700 years old. It’s engraved with a lion head, made of electrum, and, no, it shouldn’t be inserted in a vending machine when one is really hungry.
Since fame gives the world value, what is the most renowned coin ever made? That is the 1804 silver dollar, which wasn’t actually minted until 1854. The coin’s creation is a sordid tale, but it has to do with Andrew Jackson, Asian kings, corrupt Mint employees, and other bizarre circumstances. To wit, the coin is a forgery of a coin that mistakenly got made and is now considered authentic for collectors. Not really a custom coin for achievement, but a coin that achieved quite a bit of its own notoriety!
Since art gives the world meaning, what is the most famous coin found in movies? That would have to be Two-Face’s vandalized coin in the Batman franchise. A runner-up might be any coin used by creepy Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men,” flipped to see if he’s going to let a random person live.
Beyond interesting facts, all this should be a reminder that any challenge coins in your possession might eventually become very valuable — once money, history, notoriety, and art are done with it. Take care of them.