All the advances in technology have made it easier for manufacturers to create custom military coins regardless of the intricacy of the design. Whereas in the old days officers had to go through great lengths just to have customized challenge coins for their units, their modern-day counterparts can simply do the following steps:
1. Send the design idea to the coin manufacturer. Most manufacturers accept computer-generated designs in various formats, such as .jpg, .gif, .ppt or designs that are compressed into zip or rar files. Those who do not have the means or the skill to draw a design can simply provide the manufacturer with paragraph descriptions of how they want the coin design to look, or they can simply scan a copy of the organization’s pre-existing insignia so that it can be incorporated onto the coin’s engraving.
They would simply have to indicate whether they want the custom military coins to be designed in the traditional engraving method. Another advanced option is to have the coins engraved with a 3D design, though this process would ultimately entail a higher cost. Commissioning a 3D design was not possible in the old days since the coins often had to be manually shaped and engraved by blacksmiths using their bare hands and a few odd tools.
2. Choose the coin’s shape, as well as finishing on the coin’s edges. Some of the most well-known shapes for modern custom military coins are polygons, squares, and dog tag shapes, not to mention the traditional rounded shape. The edges can also be customized into rope-cut, wave-cut, oblique, or cross-cut edges. This effectively adds to the unique look of the coins and also makes the design stand out. These new ways of shaping the coins and cutting their edges are in stark contrast to the ancient methods of shaping challenge coins into simple round shapes.
However, one disadvantage of shaping the coins into a hexagonal or dog tag shape is that it is not cost-effective. This is because the shapes would have to be cut out of the traditional rounded coins, which means that some parts of the coin will have to go to waste.
3. Choose the style of the metal that would be used for the coins. Some choices include published or antique styles of gold, silver, brass, and copper. Organizations can also choose dual-tone metal styles if they want to make the coins look more interesting and unique.
Choosing the metal style is also another advantage that is made possible by modern technology. In ancient times, custom military coins could only be shaped from real gold or silver, which is something that would cost an arm and a leg these days.
Once the steps above have been completed, it is now time to submit the request to the manufacturer. However, before submitting the order, an officer can also add in a few additional details, such as:
1. Placing each coin inside as pouch or a velvet box. This is normally done when the coins are to be given away as a special award to recognize a veteran’s bravery.
2. Adding sequential numbering to each coin. This is normally done if the order consists of multiple coins that would be given away as collectibles or mementos to a number of people. The sequential number tags often add to the coin’s uniqueness and increase its value among collectors.
3. Cover the custom military coins with a special epoxy coating that would keep the design from slowly chipping off.
Once all the details have been taken care of, the order can then be placed. The manufacturer will normally report back to the customer within 24 hours with a design idea that the customer needs to approve.
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