12 December 2015

At the Trade Deadline 38: The Prowling Cat Cleans Out His Clutter, and I'm Reaping All the Benefits, Part 3

This closes out the package I received as part of The Prowling Cat's closet-cleaning. The first item was a Hostess baseball card set, the second was a set of zoo animals, and this third item is a bit of memorabilia given away at a Seattle Mariners game in 2013. It's a Salute to Armed Forces Night coin that is shaped like a baseball diamond with the date and Mariners logo on one side and a flag theme with a list of the military services on the other.

It is modeled after the challenge coins that are a tradition in the military. They are usually created by the leadership of a specific unit and handed out either for some kind of exemplary performance or as a morale booster during leadership visits. I've accumulated a number of coins over the last fifteen years as a member of the Idaho Army National Guard. Off the top of my head I can recall the circumstances surrounding about 75% of my coins, and with a little bit of thinking I could probably remember most of the rest, too. It makes for a nice little career highlight reel.

They are called challenge coins because theoretically there is an informal process in which someone at a bar or other gathering produces their coin and by doing so challenges others in the group to also produce their coins. Anyone who does not produce their coin must buy the drinks, but if everyone can produce their coin the challenger must buy the drinks. They can also be trumped by anyone who produces a higher-ranking coin (a coin given by a Brigade command as opposed to a coin given out by a Company command, for example). I've heard a lot of discussion about this sort of thing over the years, but I've never seen anyone actually perform a challenge in this way. In most cases I think someone attempting to do so at the bar would be seen as a big douche for parading his coin around and he would quickly put it away to avoid further ridicule. Maybe that kind of stuff is a bigger deal among active duty folks.

Anyway, I thought that the Mariners coin would be a nice addition to my coin collection, so I stepped in and claimed it. I haven't yet added it to my display, though, because I am reluctant to bust it out of the packaging. For the most part I have overcome my urge to leave collectibles in their packages, but every so often I struggle with that part of the collector mentality. Thank you, Prowling Cat, for the awesome clutter-clearing package! I have begun gathering things to send in a return package, which I hope will live up to what you have sent my way.


  1. Have to say that after reading this post, and the one about the zoo cards. I am so glad you were the one to get both of these. Couldn't have found a better home for them if I had tried.

    If I had to pick the fate of the coin I'd say it gets freed to hang with all the other coins. Been struggling with the collectibles thing myself, and have been starting to free some things I've held on to because of that thinking. Its been pretty cool to actually enjoy them free rather than sitting someplace barely ever seen.

    1. I really appreciate all of these things you've sent my way. I have a couple of nice items set aside for you, and I'm seeking out a few more things to add to them for a good return package. I am a couple mailings behind on getting a return out to you.

      I'll be breaking the coin out of the package soon so it can go in my display. I went through a stage a few years ago when I opened up all of my action figures and let them out of their packaging. That really opened things up for me as far as being able to enjoy my stuff rather than worrying so much about condition.