What inspires you? Do you have a favorite quotation that you like to keep in mind on busy days? How about a motivational saying? Or a picture of a particular inspirational individual?
Sometimes it pays to have a physical reminder of that inspiration. That’s where everyday carry (EDC) reminder coins come in handy.
Just about all of us have some “everyday carry” items. At the very least, most people today don’t leave home without a wallet, cell phone and car keys. There are plenty of reasons to add a reminder coin as well.
Origins of Everyday Carry
The concept of everyday carry is an ancient one. Although no one can put an exact date on it, the idea of having useful things with you pretty much goes back to when humans first began using tools.
Think about it. If you’re a hunter/gatherer, it makes sense to carry something with you that allows you to hunt wild game or gather plants. That could have been anything from a spear for the hunter to a cloth sack for the gatherer.
EDC items evolved with the times. There’s evidence that ancient Romans often carried writing instruments, coins and keys in pouches. By the Middle Ages, such items were carried in pouches or hung from belts.
The 17th century brought a new innovation, the must-have equivalent to the modern smartphone – the pocket watch. With increased accuracy in timekeeping, it became possible to better schedule meetings, assign railroad timetables and other important matters.
By the 20th century, wallets and car keys were the basic minimum everyday carry items for most people. In mid-century, engineers and students frequently carried slide rules. The advent of pocket calculators in the early 1970s made those obsolete.
The 1980s brought pagers into common use. Cell phones became common in the 1990s. The advent of smartphones in the 2000s brought EDC gear to a new level.
Enter the Pocket Computer
Different occupations and hobbies have long had specific individual EDC needs. The introduction of the iPhone and Android phones broke through barriers, greatly simplifying EDC needs for many people.
For example, a smartphone can replace a camera – either still or video – for most people. It can also replace audio recorders, flashlights, watches, paper maps and much more. Multiple items that many once considered EDC musts now reside in junk drawers, closets or landfills, casualties of the electronic revolution.
But not everyone is willing to give up the old-fashioned ways, at least not all the time. Pens, pocket flashlights, digital cameras and other items still fulfill a need for some.
And that’s where EDC reminder coins come in. They’re a tangible way to remember an important person, date or event, or to keep oneself motivated in stressful times.
Types of EDC Reminder Coins
Of course, custom challenge coins are nothing new in the EDC world. Members of the military often carry them at all times. They promote camaraderie and a sense of belonging. Of course, the fact that another member of your unit might challenge you is a consideration too. If you’re challenged to produce your coin and don’t have it, you could be on the hook to buy a round of drinks.
EDC reminder coins are a timeless way to remember specific units, deployments, battles or other events. They’re a treasured way to recall the men and women with whom someone shared those events and experiences.
Many people choose to carry commemorative coins. They’re a way to honor a person, place or event important to them. For example, we gave a custom commemorative coin to my dad, a retired police officer, for his 80th birthday. He and I both carry one, as do other family members. It reminds me every day of his dedication and service to the community. Well, that and the fact that he’s a pretty cool dad. It’s a cherished memento for both of us.
Motivational and Inspirational Coins
Many people like to keep a quote or inspirational image close by to remind them each day to strive for their goals. Whether it’s a quote from Marcus Aurelius, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Sun Tzu, it can help keep the person focused. This has become a very popular form of EDC reminder coins.
Having something tangible that you can hold in your hand gives more weight, both literally and figuratively to an idea. To be able to hold a coin and see the motto or image that helps give you purpose is powerful.
For many, EDC reminder coins or chips carry a deeper meaning. Addiction recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous give coins to mark the time the recipient has remained free of their addictive substance. New members may receive their first chip for 24 hours of sobriety.
These sobriety coins help reinforce the recipients’ commitment to remaining sober. Having a tangible connection to their dedication can help strengthen and maintain their resolve. The coins also remind those who receive them that they are not alone in their efforts.
While there’s no official AA coin that carries the AA logo or brand, many chapters – and those of other organizations such as Narcotics Anonymous – present coins at specific intervals. After the first 24 hour coin, the tokens are typically presented monthly for the first year, then annually after that.
There’s no official story of when exactly sobriety coins became available, but many credit their existence to Sister Ignatia, a nun who served as a nurse in Akron, Ohio. In 1935, she pioneered the treatment of alcoholism as a medical condition. When recovering alcoholics left her hospital, she presented them with a Sacred Heart of Jesus medallion.
There was one catch – if the recipients were going to drink, they needed to return the medallion to Sister Ignatia. She successfully treated thousands of alcoholics over a 30-year period. AA chapters throughout the world adopted the concept of the medallion, albeit without the requirement to return it.
For those recovering from addiction, the sobriety coin is a vital reminder of their journey, and a critical part of their everyday carry.
Many people like to hold onto a tangible reminder of colleagues, friends and family members who have passed away. Custom memorial challenge coins are a meaningful way to honor the person’s memory. A well-designed coin can include a picture of the person, their favorite sayings, a quotation from them, or other information. A simple coin can be a way to honor someone important to you and recall how much they meant to you.
Everyday Carry Reminders – Versatile, Useful, Helpful
If everyday carry is about what’s important to each individual, then EDC reminder coins certainly embody that notion. Whether it’s to celebrate a milestone, recall an event, honor a loved one or remind one of a commitment to life itself, EDC coins are valuable to those who carry them.
ChallengeCoins4Less.com is your one-stop source for EDC reminder coins of all kinds. With 20 years’ experience, we have created custom coins for military units, teams, companies, small business and individuals around the world. No matter what your need for EDC reminder coins, let us show you how meaningful they can be.
Content Director, Blogger
Rick Cundiff spent 15 years as a newspaper journalist before joining TJM Promos. He has been researching and writing about custom challenge coins and other promotional products for more than 10 years. He believes in the Oxford comma, eradicating the word "utilize," and Santa Claus.