A challenge coin is a small medallion or token used to represent membership in an organization. They are often found in the military and are sometimes used to reward outstanding performance. Some of them are valuable to collectors. We will take a look at 14 of the most valuable challenge coins on the market in recent years. We’ll find out what makes them special and how much they sell for! Read on to learn more.
1. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi
One of the rarest challenge coins is one issued by a high-ranking politician. They are often given to close aides and relatively rarely enter the collectors market.
This challenge coin from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hit the market in 2022 through the online auction site eBay. Ms. Pelosi is a high-profile Democrat who has represented California since 1987. She made history as the first female Speaker ever.
This challenge coin features her signature below the House engraving. It was purchased at auction with a single bid of $7,500.
Interestingly, around the same time, another political challenge coin was also being sold on eBay.
Photos of Donald Trump and Melania Trump framed with two challenge coins from the 45th President of the United States, starting at $7,900. The auction ended without attracting any bids.
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As this example shows, challenge coins are not always round. This shield token celebrates the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group (also known as DEVGRU or SEAL Team Six).
The group is the Navy’s contribution to the Joint Special Operations Command. Its focus is on counterterrorism. And its activities are kept secret, which lends it a certain cachet among military enthusiasts.
This coin marks membership in the DEVGRU Gold Squadron. It depicts a gilded eagle standing on an anchor, holding a rifle and a trident (somewhat uncanny) in its talons. The ground is black enamel.
The coin is being sold on eBay for a fixed price of $3,750.
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DEVGRU’s challenge coin looks more like a traditional token. It is round and has a black base and gold-plated details.
One side features an illustration of a Roman centurion’s helmet with the legend “Given by the Task Force Commander.” Presumably, it was awarded in recognition of some special act of heroism by the recipient.
The other side shows a sword and shield with the words “The deed is all…not the pleasure”. This motto may be of some comfort to those involved in special operations that remain state secrets.
The coin was sold on the auction site eBay in September 2022. Fixed price is $3,250.
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4. Russia House Program, Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is perhaps the most well-known of all U.S. intelligence agencies. This challenge coin is a somewhat surprising celebration of its secret work.
Engraved on one side are the words “Russia House,” the agency’s plan to spy on Russia. It shares its name with the British Secret Intelligence Service unit that has the same objectives. This is the famous title of John Le Carré’s 1989 spy novel.
The bottom of the same side of the coin is inscribed “For distinguished service in espionage since 1947.” On the back, it says “Mission Center for Europe and Eurasia”. This makes it a Class II challenge coin. The Type I version was produced when the program was affiliated with the Central Eurasian Division of the CIA.
It will be available through eBay in 2022 with a fixed price of just under $3,000. In this case, the seller is prepared to accept a lower offer.
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5. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo
The political challenge coin will be presented to the recipient by Republican politician Mike Pompeo. He served as CIA director under Donald Trump and later became the 70th Secretary of State.
His tenure was marked by events. He supports the 45th president’s illegal actions to pressure Ukraine for political gain. He used State Department staff to run errands for himself and his wife. He also sought to block Trump’s peaceful transfer of power to President Joe Biden.
The recipient of this particular coin is unknown. Measuring 1.75 inches in diameter, it was reportedly passed to its new owner via a handshake.
There is a Stars and Stripes pattern on one side and Pompeo’s signature below. Another painting depicts an eagle with outstretched wings.
It was listed on eBay in 2022 for $2,850. However, the seller accepted the lower offer.
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6. Central Intelligence Agency Career Commendation Medal
As we have seen, challenge coins from intelligence agencies are highly sought after. The Career Recognition Medal from the CIA is one such example.
Cast in bronze, with an eagle on one side and the words “Central Intelligence Agency” and “Career Commendation Medal” engraved on it.
Another has a laurel wreath with “United States of America” written around it. There is a box in the middle that says “Awarded”. The space for the recipient’s name remains blank.
These medals are awarded for performance that goes above and beyond normal duties and helps advance the mission of the agency. They’re bulky items – this one is 3 inches in diameter and a quarter of an inch thick.
The car was sold in September 2022 for $2,500 and was in excellent condition, but the seller accepted a lower offer.
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7. Area 51
This mysterious coin was sold on eBay in 2022. It has purported ties to Area 51, the alleged site of an alien spacecraft crash-landing, and there are also hints of links to CIA Special Operations Groups and Air Force Special Projects.
The seller provided little additional information beyond a physical description of the token.
Engraved on one side are the words “Bad Moon Is Rising”. The other bears the Latin inscriptions “Fortitudo et preparation”, meaning “strength and preparation” and “Facta non verba”, meaning “actions not words”.
There are high-relief images of three roaring dragons on both sides. These are accompanied by an inverted triangle containing a four-pointed star.
At least one buyer seems convinced of the coin’s authenticity. It sells for $1,750.
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8. CIA Deputy Director Avril Haines
This is another challenge coin from the CIA world. In this case, it was a gift from the agency’s deputy director, Avril D. Haines.
Ms. Haines took office in 2013, appointed by then-President Barack Obama. She later became deputy national security adviser, the first woman to hold that position.
One side of the coin features a portrait of another female pioneer, Virginia Hall. During World War II, she was the first female agent to settle in France. On the other side is the CIA logo, an eagle with a star on top of the shield.
The coin is 3 inches in diameter and is in excellent condition when sold online in 2022. The asking price was $1,500, but the seller accepted the lower offer.
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9. Top Gun 2: Maverick
Another rich source of collectible challenge coins is the Movie World. Coins are sometimes given as souvenirs to those involved in the production process.
The same goes for these coins, which commemorate the year 2018《AmbitionLing Yun》 was produced. The production staff handed them out to various VIP guests. Each piece comes as a set and comes with embroidered patches. “Maverick” Sequel
Lots for sale via eBay in 2022 include five sets. It was snapped up for $1,500, presumably for resale to a collector.
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The seller of this coin did not describe it. “If you’re looking at this,” he said, “you probably know exactly what you’re looking at. If you don’t, this probably isn’t for you.”
However, for those of us unfamiliar with the world of gunslinger companions, here’s an explanation. They are the people responsible for maintaining the Navy’s small arms and missile launch systems. This includes tracking and ordering ammunition.
This coin presumably marks attendance at the U.S. Naval Gunnery School. The name of the school is engraved on one side of the coin.
On the other side is the legendary “dealer of death and destruction.” For those who find this too subtle, an image of the Grim Reaper adorns the sides, holding a scythe in his hand and wearing naval epaulets on his shoulders.
The project was put up for auction in January 2022, sparking fierce competition. The winning bidder paid $1,375 to acquire it.
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11. US Special Operations Commander, Admiral William McRaven
The coin was a gift from Admiral William H. McRaven, U.S. Special Operations Commander. Until 2012, the story was virtually unknown outside the intelligence community. But when news of McRaven’s involvement in the Osama bin Laden mission surfaced, counterfeit money quickly emerged.
However, this specimen is real. It has the correct SEAL insignia but is slightly altered in the fake. Also, the size and position of the stars on real coins are different.
This is Type 2 of the two existing variations of the coin. It has the serial number #2933 and has the manufacturer’s mark on the edge.
It will be available online in 2022 for a fixed price of $1,359. Its pedigree and excellent condition meant it was quickly snapped up by collectors.
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12. CIA Station, Baghdad
The eye-catching challenge coin is shaped like a map of Iraq, with the country’s flag in the background. The reverse is engraved “Embassy of the United States of America” and features a cityscape with crossed swords.
The coin was allegedly given to a key contact with the CIA station in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. And genuine versions are hard to find.
It was sold on eBay in 2022. The buyer paid $1,250 to add it to their collection.
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13. CIA CBRN and WMD Terrorism Groups
The CIA apparently found challenge coins very useful, as there are many different versions on the market.
It is said that this person is from two organizations involved in counter-terrorism. One group focuses on chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats and the other focuses on weapons of mass destruction.
A passion for Latin aphorisms is also evident here. One side of the coin is engraved with the words “Mortifirae obstemus scientiae,” which translates to “Let us resist deadly science.” The other side features the CIA’s eagle and shield logo.
The coin was sold online in 2022. It was in excellent condition and the seller accepted the asking price of $1,250.
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14. Delta Force Commanders
This eye-catching challenge coin is another coin from the military. This unit bears the insignia of the 1st Special Forces Combat Detachment: Delta – commonly known as Delta Force.
It is affiliated with the Joint Special Forces Command and is responsible for the most difficult, secretive, and dangerous missions.
It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that this challenge coin is so popular among collectors. It was auctioned online in 2022 and attracted a lot of attention. The winning bidder paid $1,165 to acquire it.
These are the 14 most valuable challenge coins summarized in this guide for you. If you’re considering investing in expensive challenge coins, do your homework first. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting and buy from a reputable challenge coin dealer.