Throughout history, warriors have carried coins, going as far back as the ancient Greeks and, finally, the Romans. Coins carried by warriors were seen as the payment for the ferryman, Charon, to be exchanged for passage into the afterlife. They served as a memento mori, which roughly translates from Latin to mean, “ remember that you will die. ” This is besides the root of the English discussion ‘ memento. ’ Even back in the Civil War, troop from both armies carried coins with them as a cheap reminder of being back dwelling .
The legend of the challenge coins, as we know them, started with WWI pilots. A young and full-bodied deputy felt the motivation to flaunt his wealth to his new peers, so he spent his own money to buy solid bronze medallions of his whole insignia for his peers. Another original accepted it as a courteous give and wore it in a little leather pouch around his neck. concisely after, he would be shot down behind enemy lines. He was captured by Germans, who stripped him over everything, but overlooked his decoration .
He escaped in civilian attire, crossed no man ’ s domain undetected, and stumbled into a french outstation. unfortunately, the french didn ’ metric ton understand English nor his american stress and thought he was a german saboteur. The Germans took every piece of personal identification from the American original, so the merely proofread he had to show the french to not shoot him was the bronze unit medallion his rich peer gave him.
One french captor recognized the insignia and delayed his execution until they could confirm if he was american or not. rather of a bullet train to the head, the french gave him a bottle of wine and sent him on his direction. When the pilot burner returned and told everyone of what happened, carrying those medallions became immediately crucial among all pilots. This besides started the joke punishment of having to buy the future round if you ’ re not carrying your coin.
So, if you’re wondering, nearly every tradition the military dates back to WWI. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
Another lower enlisted tradition began in post-WWII Germany as assign U.S. troops would carry west german money with them. The exchange rate was sol bad that the One Pfennig mint was barely deserving a fraction of a penny and had about zero rate to American troops. then, alone the poorest of the poor would bother saving them — until troops gathered to drink. If person would shout, “ Pfennig check ! ” everyone would empty their pockets to see who was poor people ( if you had the near-worthless coin ) and who wasn ’ t ( if you were above keeping them ). If you were “ rich ” enough to not need to carry a worthless mint, you were rich people enough to buy your brother-in-arms a drink. This soon shifted to include challenge coins, which besides had no monetary value.