Who knew that members of a presidential administration can have coins made to hand out. “Challenge coins” are given out and received by different people like first responders or the military . President Trump has the challenge coins he has received displayed in the Oval Office.

Coin collector John Wertman shows his “very gold” Trump challenge coin:

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HOW THEY GOT THEIR START:

Challenge coins got their start as military baubles bearing division insignia and presented by officers to troops for exemplary service. The moniker came from a tradition in which service members challenged one another to produce their coins. Those who did not have one had to buy a round of drinks.

For two decades, the commander in chief has doled out distinguished-looking coins as personal mementos. Now, the presidential ‘‘challenge coin’’ has undergone a Trumpian transformation.

The presidential seal has been replaced by an eagle bearing President Trump’s signature. The eagle’s head faces right, not left, as on the seal. The 13 arrows representing the original states have disappeared. And the national motto, ‘‘E pluribus unum’’ – a Latin phrase that means ‘‘Out of many, one’’ – is gone.

Instead, both sides of the coin feature Trump’s official campaign slogan, ‘‘Make America Great Again.’’

The aide said the president, whose real estate properties are known for their gilded displays of wealth and status, was personally involved in redesigning the coin. Trump, who also had a hand in creating his famous red campaign hat, ‘‘wanted to weigh in on it,’’ the aide said. ‘‘It’s beautifully made.’’

FEATHERS RUFFLED:

“Ethics experts” are all aflutter because President Trump used his political slogan on the coin:

‘‘For the commander in chief to give a political token with a campaign slogan on it to military officers would violate the important principle of separating the military from politics, as well as diminishing the tradition of the coin.”

There is also dispute about who pays for the coins. As it turns out, the Republican Party is paying for the coins.

Yes, the coin is very gold and big but it is Trump’s style. It’s interesting to note the coins of Obama and Trump reflect each president.

Read more: Boston Globe


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