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Challenge Coins 101: Custom Coin Plating Options

Posted by All About Challenge Coins | December 3, 2018 at 11:59am | Topic: Challenge Coins 101
Designing a custom coin, you want every aspect of it to fit your specifications from the representation of your original design to the feel of a coin’s edge. Which is why at All About Challenge Coins we’re alarmed when we meet new clients with no idea what challenge coin plating is and how it changes a design. While designing a challenge coin, you'll explore literally hundreds of different customization combinations but your coin's plating sets the backdrop of your entire design. As one of the most influential choices you can make for a coin’s appearance, it’s vital to understand coin plating and your options.

Challenge Coins 101: Coin Plating

  A challenge coin’s plating is the metal used for its external finish with the most common options of gold, silver, copper, nickel, black nickel or even a combination of two metals. While changing the edge can add texture to a coin and filling paint into a design can embellish details, coin plating sets the tone of a coin’s look whether you want a coin with aged and refined antique surface or a gleaming high polish. Your choice of plating will be the primary backdrop of your design and sets the metallic surface of your challenge coin whether it looks like a gold coin, silver coin, copper coin or one of our more unique options. Some designs and artwork lend themselves better to different plating options and some options can actually obscure details. To help clients decide on their coin’s look and feel before production, we suggest taking advantage of our design services. All About Challenge Coins provides free full-color art proofs on all orders based on your instructions. Topping it off, the service comes with free unlimited revisions, allowing you to see for yourself how a design will look under different plating options before deciding.

Knowing Your Coin Plating Options

Now you understand plating and how it affects your coin’s look, let’s talk options. All About Coins offers a variety of plating choices including gold, silver, copper and nickel, which can often be further customized between gleaming high polish or classic antique styles.

High Polish Coin Plating

Our standard plating option, high polish coin plating gives the entire surface of a coin a gleaming shine that looks like newly-minted precious metal. Our high polish options include:
  • High Polish Gold Coin Plating - Plating in high polish gold gives a coin the classic glow of a shining gold coin but can make fine details on an intricate design hard to make out. This type of plating is best suited for designs that also incorporate dark painted areas to contrast the polished gleam.
  • High Polish Silver Coin Plating - High polish silver plating creates a bright shining silver that catches light easily and is highly effective for challenge coin designs that want to replicate the look of silver currency.
  • High Polish Copper Coin Plating - Just as brightly polished as high polish silver and gold, high polish copper plating’s reddish hue actually  allows for better presentation of textured effects and designs.

Antique Coin Plating

The most popular type of coin plating we offer, antique plating gives their metal coins a classic time-worn appearance with darker color recesses and a subdued metal surface that often gives challenge coins a look of well-aged elegance. Our antique plating options include:
  • Antique Gold Coin Plating - By far the most popular type of plating we offer, the recessed areas of an antique gold plated coin has a warmer gold look and darker finish which is advantageous for presenting fine details and small script.
  • Antique Silver Coin Plating - Antique silver plating is significantly darker than high polish silver with an almost pewter-like finish that gives uncolored designs a classic black and white quality.
  • Antique Copper Coin Plating - The color of antique copper plating creates deep dark red shadows in a coin’s recesses which can create interesting shading effect on 3D coin designs while giving a deep shading effect across the details of a 2D design.

Specialty Coin Plating

Representing some of our most unique plating options, specialty coin plating represents a collection of rare and unusual plating options that can make a challenge coin immediately standout in a collection. These uncommon plating options include:
  • Black Metal Coin Plating - With a dull matte finish, black metal stands in stark contrast from the shining examples of most challenge coins. However, it’s dark color provides an excellent backdrop for highlighting the vibrancy of the most colorful designs and is especially good for designs incorporating our glowing enamel effects.
  • Rainbow/Anodized Coin Metal Plating - One of our most unique options, rainbow metal plating uses anodized metal to create a colorful rainbow effect on a coin that shines with a variety of different colors upon inspection.
  • Dual Metal Coin Plating - Dual plating a coin means plating the surface with two different types of metals on different parts of a coin and is commonly used to accurately represent rank colors in military coins. However, the plating option is especially good for creating two-tone effects on a coin to highlight a single important part of a design or to create contrasting plated elements in a design.

Final Advice

Don’t shy away from asking any of our representatives for advice when it comes to choosing a plating style that will best match your design ideas. We’ve been in this business for a long time and our representatives have seen design and plating combinations in nearly every stripe. Picking the right plating is one of the most significant design decisions you can make for your challenge coins and we’re more than happy to help.
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