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Challenge Coin Collecting Tips

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  • Challenge Coin Collecting Tips

    Morning everyone,

    I’m relatively new to law enforcement, as in a few months out of FTO new. My department gave us the opportunity to buy challenge coins, so I bought a batch with the intention of trading them with other officers from other agencies. The idea of having a shelf of LE challenge coins at the end of my career appeals to me.

    With that said, any tips on how to come by officers from other agencies who have challenge coins? It seems finding coins is more *challenging* than expected. Pun intended.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Challenge coins tend to be rather expensive, especially customized ones. I don't know of any agencies around me that have them. Patch trading is more of a go-to for officers who are into that.
    "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
    -Friedrich Nietzsche

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    • #3
      Yeah- patch trading is more common. But you can trade patches for coins and vice-versa too.

      It seems like every agency has at least one officer who shares your patch/coin collecting hobby, and his or her co-workers usually know it. I've traded coins and patches all over the world, and never had trouble finding someone who wants to trade...

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      • #4
        It's hard to find people that trade them. More often they are offered for sale at prices that vary from a few dollars up to $30 or more, depending on the rarity. If you want to collect, look at police collector's shows in your area. Also look at joining the International Police Association (IPA). You will find many officers there that trade lisated in their quarterly publication and online.

        Personally, i don't trade but always carry some with me from my agency when I travel internationally and leave one with the Customs agent of the country I am entering. They uaually give me one back.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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        • just joe
          just joe commented
          Editing a comment
          Good idea. I'll have to try that next time I travel.

      • #5
        The idea of having a shelf of LE challenge coins at the end of my career appeals to me.
        I have about three dozen coins in my collection. It took 27 years to get them.

        (*disclaimer*: challenge coins weren't that prevalent until about 10 years ago, so most were gained between 2009-2019).

        About a third were obtained from being part of a big op where the sponsoring agency paid for a bunch of coins. Sometimes they gave them out, other times they charged $10 (cheap bastards).

        Another third were obtained from individual officers as a token of appreciation for helping them with something- an investigation, training, etc.

        The final third came from a variety of sources, like trading with buddies. I bought a couple on Ebay because they were old school collectibles. And a former boss (who had piles of coins) once felt sorry for my sad collection and dropped a few on my desk out of pity.

        My favorite is one from Australia. It's probably the closest I'll ever get to Australia.

        Start off by giving one to buds in other departments (hopefully they'll give you one in return). The rest will come with time (which you have plenty of).

        Instinct is something which transcends knowledge.

        -Nikola Tesla

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        • #6
          There are HUNDREDS of different NYPD challenge coins. Challenge coins in the NE are rampant. Just check "challenge coin" on EBay and you will see.

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          • #7
            Like my NYPD colleague mentioned above, my department has lots of challenge coins as well.

            I've been to Washington DC several times during Police Memorial Week and have met lots of officers from all over the country, many of them wanting to exchange coins and patches. Since you're new to the policing profession, I might suggest you try to make it to DC during that week (always in May) and try there.

            It's also a humbling experience to be there during Memorial Week, something you should do while you're still young on the job.
            Last edited by LA Copper; 01-28-2021, 08:38 AM.

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            • #8
              If you ever want to take a plunge in the deep end, there is an ocom member here who manufactures challenge coins. I had him make some for one of my old departments for a 25 year reunion and they were a great hit.

              He is a corrections Lieutenant, is easy to work with and quick to communicate if you have questions.

              He is https://forum.officer.com/member/225145-ltscoins
              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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              • #9
                I appreciate you guys. I’ll definitely look into police week and give those ideas a try. Looking forward to getting that collection growing.

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