Lot 15 (x 5) - Five Unit Challenge Coins from Gundulph

Discussion in 'Charity Auctions' started by Good CO, Nov 6, 2007.

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  1. Good CO

    Good CO LE Admin

    Five no fear "challenge coins" for separate auction (i.e. the top 5 bids on this thread will win) as shown in the photo.

    Please bid per coin.

    Kindly donated by Gundulph who explains the history:

    During World War 1, American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons. Some were wealthy scions attending colleges such as Yale and Harvard who quit in the mid term to join the war. In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant ordered medallions struck in solid bronze carrying the squadron emblem for every member of his squadron. He himself carried his medallion in a small leather sack about his neck. Shortly after acquiring the medallions, this pilot's aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire. He was forced to land behind enemy lines and was immediately captured by a German Patrol. In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took all of his personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his neck. In the meantime, he was taken to a small French town near the front. Taking advantage of a bombardment that night he donned civilian clothes and escaped. However, he was without personal identification. He succeeded in avoiding German Patrols and reached the front lines. With great difficulty, he crossed no-man's land. Eventually, he stumbled into a French outpost. Unfortunately, the French in this sector of the front had been plagued by saboteurs. They sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian's clothes. Not recognizing the young pilot's American accent, the French thought him to be a saboteur and made ready to execute him. Just in time, he remembered his leather pouch containing the medallion. He showed the medallion to his would-be executioners. His French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the medallion and delayed long enough for him to confirm his identity. Instead of shooting him, they gave him a bottle of wine. Back with his squadron, it became a tradition to ensure that all members carried their medallions or coins at all times. This was accomplished through a challenge in the following manner, a challenger would ask to see the coin, if the challenger could not produce his coin, he was required to purchase a drink of choice for the member who had challenged him. If the challenged member produces his coin, then the challenging member was required to pay for the drink. This is tradition continued throughout the war and for many years after while surviving members of the squadron were still alive.

    The practice of a senior enlisted member presenting a coin or medallion to an individual actually goes back just about 100 years ago in the British Army. During the War of the Boars, the officers were the only ones authorized to receive medals. Whenever an enlisted person did a good job - typically the officer he was assigned to would receive the award. The Regimental Sgt Maj would sneak into the officer's tent; cut the medal from the ribbon. He would then call an all hands to formally "shake the hand" of the exceptional soldier, and would "palm the medal" in the soldier's hand without anyone knowing. The officers of course would sort of know what was going on, and typically condoned the action, as many often felt ill-at ease in accepting the medal in the first place - although there were a few exceptions. Whenever that would happen, other officers would cover for the enlisted men by blaming it on the nearby civilians who often stole goods from the army camps. As time went on, the coin recognition was eventually extended to the American forces in WWI - by then of course the British Army began recognizing their own enlisted soldiers.

    The coin turned into a recognition piece, which was specially struck with the unit's crest on it. Senior NCOs presented them as their form of recognition, since they were not authorized to present any medals or awards. In Vietnam, the coin took a different twist of recognition -- it became known as the "challenge coin" in which those who had them, would slam them on the bar counter to challenge anyone in the bar if they had one - it was one of those Combat "machismo" thing. If a person didn't have a coin, they would have to buy the bar a round of drinks.
  2. I'll have a bit of that:

  3. Cool. Can I have a REME emblem and a giant ear?

  4. Fellas, the Auction is for 5 individual 'No fear' coins as seen above, apologies for the confusion, I can of course design and produce any Unit coin if people are interested after this auction, but the minimum order is 100 due to the initial costs for the program, every coin has a one off program charge after which you only pay for the cost of the coin on follow on orders, coins can also be made in literally any shape you want! 8)
  5. Sympathetic_Reaction

    Sympathetic_Reaction LE Book Reviewer

    I'll follow the trend £20 for one. Probably the only thing I can afford with Armchair_jihad splashing out.

  6. As I don't want to be accused of being an EOD walt, I withdraw my bid but not my donation. ie I'll still give the £20 but no longer require the coin.


  7. Sympathetic_Reaction

    Sympathetic_Reaction LE Book Reviewer

    I was worried about the Walt aspect, but as I'm not going to stick a ribbon on it and claim it's a medal, or take it to the local RBL bar and claim my beer then i'm happy to pay £20 for charity.

    I might give it to the works heritage centre as we have a load of EOD stuff in that.

  8. What I mean is as I have never been/ever likely to be a member of the EOD it would be unreasonable of me to claim one of these for myself.

  9. That's very good of you Jimima..... Up to you as after all it is for Charity :wink:
  10. I`ll go £20 for one of these, make a good chrimbo pressie for my buddy who was EOD
  11. I'll bid £20 for one.

    And if there's no objections, donate it to a Help for Heroes auction we're planning to run at work.
  12. I'll bid on one Gundulph.
  13. ffs gents, we've gotta have some ARRSE coins made!
  14. Consider it done moving_target, I'm open to ideas for front and back for an ARRSE coin...
  15. I'll bid £30 for a coin with whatever arrse logo the colective deems appropriate (Mr p head seems a good start point) and a poppy on the reverse.
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