Over the past two decades, presidential “challenge coins” have been provided to the commander in chief, serving as personal mementos that can be handed out to distinguished visitors, dignitaries, and, often, members of the armed forces. While the primary design of the coins has remained largely unchanged, President Donald Trump’s challenge coin represents a nearly complete overhaul.
On the coin created for Trump, which is predominately gold instead of the usual silver and copper, the presidential seal, traditionally featured on one side of the coin, has been replaced with the picture of an eagle, which is facing to the right instead of the usual left-facing orientation, and shield, with a recreation of his signature featured in a small pane beneath the central image.
The eagle is not grasping the 13 arrows, which are representations of the original states, and the national motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” is also not included.
Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” encircles to main design, and a blue enameled outer ring states, “Donald J. Trump. 45th President of the United States of America.”
Attached to the base of the coin is an additional ribbon, with “Donald J. Trump” written across it.
The coin is also thicker than previous iterations, which allows it to stand on edge without additional support, and has a textured outer edge, another new addition when compared to the designs of yesteryear.
One the reverse side of the coin, Trump’s name is again featured on the lower ribbon. The central image is of the White House, with an enameled American flag taking the place of the sky. The surrounding blue circle includes Trump’s campaign motto as well as “45th President of the United States.”
A White House aide asserted that Trump was personally involved in the redesigning of the coin, saying that Trump “wanted to weigh in on it.”
“It’s beautifully made,” the aide continued.
Challenge coins were originally associated with the military, often bearing division insignia. They became known as challenge coins because various military members would challenge others to show their coins and those who were not able to were on the hook for the next round of drinks.
Presidential challenge coins are considered collector’s items and are often sold for a significant sum. As reported by The Washington Post, an official Obama challenge coin sold for as much as $999 on Friday.