Coin Plating Options

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custom challenge coins

You have a lot of choices to make when it comes to creating your own custom challenge coins. Here are Quality Challenge Coins different plating options. If you are not sure which one goes best with your design, consult our trained artists by emailing or calling us.

Gold Plating

A lot of the gold you come into contact with on a daily basis is plated or gold filled as opposed to pure solid gold. This is because items plated in gold as opposed to made of pure gold actually have an increased durability, and are, of course, exponentially less expensive to create. 

In addition to the high class look of gold, the metal is prized for its resistance to oxidation and general fading. Gold plating with is offered in either Antique or High Polish options. This plating is most popular with the United States Army and Coast Guard. Antique gold plated coins offer a higher level of contrast allowing for increased visibility for finer details like text. High Polish gold adds a touch of class to your coins and makes them look expensive. Both options make use of 24K gold. 

Silver Plating

Like gold, silver plating is offered in both the Antique and High Polish options. Antique silver most closely resembles antique pewter and gives your coin a sense of age and durability. These coins are less likely to show scratches or dents over time. Meanwhile, High Polish plating creates a high mirror shine to the coins. These coins benefit from darker lettering or a sandblasted metal background to add the needed contrast to make out finer details. High polished and antique silver plating is extremely popular with Naval customers and corporate clients. 

Copper Plating 

Often overlooked in favor of silver or gold, copper creates a remarkably unique and classic look for a coin. Each coin is plated in copper and then polished to a beautiful bright reddish shine. Choosing contrasting colors goes a long way towards creating sharp definition in your overall design. Another option is to get the coin itself made out of copper and then have it polished to a high shine. Antique copper far exceeds high polished copper in terms of popularity, since high polished copper can look a little pink, almost like a rose gold.  

Black Metal Powder Coating

Black metal conveys strength and durability in a unique fashion from other coins. While other coins often have a general metal shine or a high polish look, the matte-like finish of black metal gives these coins the immediate ability to stand out. The black metal also lends itself perfectly to brighter colored paints and designs. While this is technically not a plating as the unique finish is applied through a powder coating process, the option is available to you alongside the traditional plating choices. 

Nickel Plating

Nickel plating is something everyone should be familiar with as it often coats household products such as doorknobs, cutlery and shower fixtures for enhanced decoration and wear resistance. With Quality Challenge Coins, our nickel plating options include both Antique and Black Nickel. 

Antique nickel plating looks very similar to a rustic gunmetal which gives the coin a very durable look. The recessed areas fill in a bit darker, and really help separate details on the coin. All areas of metal on the coin are dulled down slightly with the antique process and give the coin a soft luster throughout.

Black nickel presents something closer to a highly polished gunmetal finish for your coin. The dark color of the finish allows for brighter and lighter colors to come through while presenting a more classic metal look than the black metal plating option. Just like with high polished gold, silver, and copper platings, glare can become an issue though.

Colored Metal Finishes

We also offer a number of different colored metals for your coin. With the colored metal options, you can apply a base color to the coin that will allow your logo or custom colors, once painted or otherwise applied to the coin, to shine through. This, like the black metal, is a powder-coated option.

Rainbow Metal

For a more psychedelic look, you can choose our rainbow metal plating option. This affect is achieved when the coin is plated in certain reactive metals (aluminum, steel or titanium most often), and then exposed to extreme heat. The results are an iridescent rainbow of color forming on the coin face. 


In the event that you can’t choose just one, we also offer a multi-plating option. On standard sized coins, multi-plating is generally kept down to two different plating techniques in order to create a natural contrast and highly unique look. While triple, quadruple and more plating combinations are more often used on large, oversized coins, they can also be implemented on your standard sized coins. In general, however, multi-plating adds time to production and requires a close attention to detail based on your artwork.

Also, keep in mind that some of these plating option cannot be combined. For example, the process of powder coating color onto your coin will cause the coin to resist the treaditional precious metal plating process. 

As with any of the choices offered for your custom coins, if you’re ever unsure of what might be best, you’re free to ask. The members of our art and sales teams have seen it all and know how to get the best out of your unique coin design. If there’s a plating idea you have in mind that isn’t listed here, let us know and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen!