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Friday, July 26, 2013

Gyro coins -- the next generation of challenge coin

The military challenge coin has evolved over the years.  The original coins were small, 1" - 1.25".  They rarely had paint -- most were simply brass coins without embellishment that tarnished and were worn from years in one's pockets.  Over time these cherished military mementos have become larger, added paint, textures and special edging.  Some have epoxy domes and 4 color process inserts.  A few years ago I saw my first spinning coin -- what a giant leap in coin design!  The center of the coin actually rotated around an iron pin in the coin.  I didn't think challenge coins could advance any more after that.  After all -- how much can you do with a thin round sphere?  You can see many of our coin designs on our website at

In 2012, we created a video that details all of the features, finishes, textures and metals we can use to create your special coin -- "Coin Design 101" - .  With over 700 views in the first 6 months alone, we soon realized that there was a new design option on the horizon.

Well -- get ready for the latest evolution of the challenge coin -- the gyro coin.  Gyro coins take the spinner coin concept to the next level.  To be honest, I was astounded the first time I held a gyro coin.  This is a coin so advanced, so unique -- my mind was racing at the ways we could use it!

A gyro coin consists of a coin that has one standard side.  The other side is a separate piece of die struck metal that sits on top of the coin, but has a rod running perpendicular to it and attaching it to the other coin piece below.  In this way, the top metal piece can spin, or rotate, like the face of a clock - 360 degrees.

Click here to view the short video:

Gyro coin video

The standard side of the coin can also have a small raised center area, called a nib, that allows you to use the coin like a spinning top.  In this way, you can spin the coin in one direction, and spin the top piece in the opposite direction.  That's where the name "GYRO" comes in.

Here are some designs we've made:

This coin was made for the National Security Administration for their Armed Forces week celebration in 2013.

This coin, made for Edwards AFB was designed with a top spinning piece, the QUALITY ASSURANCE shield, and a bottom piece that has their 412 Quality Assurance mascot.  The mascot (vulture's) tummy has a raised nib that serves as the piece where the coin can be spinned like a top.

"I received the coins on Saturday, the coins look awesome!" reports TSgt Nicholas Lage, 412 MXG, Edwards AFB, CA.  "This was a project for the QA Division at Edwards AFB that was several months in the making. I distributed the coins to the section and the response was unreal, the entire section is very pleased. Thank you to Tammany and her team for bringing this to life."

To see our complete line of challenge coins, please visit the website at

Tammany Williams, Owner