Firefighter Challenge Coins: St. Florian’s Cross or Maltese Cross?

Rick Cundiff

Rick Cundiff

Firefighter Challenge Coins: St. Florian’s Cross or Maltese Cross?

Firefighter Challenge Coins typically feature a cross in the design, often described as a Maltese Cross. But more likely, it’s a Cross of St. Florian.

St. Florian is the patron saint of firefighters, and his story is a fascinating one. A native of what is now Austria, he was born around 250 A.D., and became an officer of the ancient Roman army. He led a squad of soldiers whose job was to fight fires.

According to accounts of his life, Florian was ordered to participate in the persecution of Christians in Rome. He was expected to commit acts such as burning Christian churches and books, expelling Christians from their job, and even rounding them up for imprisonment.

When Florian refused to comply because he was a Christian himself, Roman authorities sentenced him to death by burning. Florian reportedly taunted the soldiers to light the fire, saying he would “climb to heaven on the flames” if they did. Reportedly fearful of such a possibility, the soldiers instead chose to tie a millstone around his neck and throw him in a river to drown.

St. Florian’s stand against death by fire helped make him the patron saint of firefighters throughout the world. He also is considered the patron saint of Linz, Austria, and of soap makers and chimney sweeps.

The St. Florian’s Cross is often misidentified as a Maltese Cross. The Cross of St. Florian features wide arms with rounded curves and a circular center. The true Maltese Cross has its own distinct appearance, with narrower arms indented in a shallow V-shape with each side forming a point at the center of the cross.

The Maltese Cross was associated with the Knights Hospitaller, also known as the Order of St. John, since the 15th century. It’s also the symbol of the island of Malta.

No matter which cross your department uses on its firefighter challenge coins, it pays to have a coin provider that knows the difference between the two. A good supplier will know whether your design features a true Maltese Cross or a Cross of St. Florian, and will make sure your custom coins get make correctly.

Choose a provider such as that doesn’t charge for artwork or revisions. That way, you can be sure your coins look exactly the way you want them to before you order.

At, we’ve been in the business of making custom coins for more than a decade. We use state of the art materials and production techniques to create coins that will meet the most demanding standards – yours.

We’re committed to giving you the highest quality custom coins available, and the greatest value for your money. We back every order for firefighter challenge coins with our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. If you find a defect in either materials or workmanship of any coin, we will replace it at no extra cost to you.

Whether you want coins with a Cross of St. Florian or a Maltese Cross, you can depend on us for all you custom coin needs!