Re: Authentic Area 51 Challenge Coins ?

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Message posted by Peter Merlin (Member since 11/13/2003) on August 09, 2022 at 18:11:22 PST:

First of all, the answer is yes, there are numerous authentic challenge coins from Area 51 units, organizations, and programs. Some of these show up on eBay and other web sites.

Second, the asking prices range from reasonable ($10 to $20) to ridiculous ($500-1500).

Third, let the buyer beware. Sellers often misidentify their items.

Let's start with the Det 3 Silent Hunters coin cited in the original post. The seller describes it as "AREA 51 CIA AF Special Projects DET 3 Silent Hunters Magic Carpet Ride Coin." In reality, this coin has nothing whatsoever to do with Area 51, the CIA, or USAF special projects. This coin was made to be presented by Lt.Col. Raymond Simmons, commander of Detachment 3 of the 9th Operations Group at Andersen AFB, Guam. At the time of issue (circa 2011), Det 3, 9th OG, operated the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV.

Next, we have
"CIA / USAF Area 51 Black Ops Air Unit Challenge Coin - AFTC DET 3"
OK, at least it is actually related to Det 3, AFTC. This was given to attendees at the unit's 2015 dining out. A dining out is a formal Air Force banquet for unit members and guests.
"CIA/USAF AFTC Det 3 Black Project Challenge Coin - Area 51"
Anyone who has read Trevor Paglen's book on blackworld emblems, or some of my articles on this web site will recognize this design from a patch associated with Groom Lake. This coin is the real deal, but woefully overpriced.
This is a genuine Ghost Squadron coin from Det 3, AFTC. This particular example is a factory reject because it is missing the back coloring that should have filled the helmet visor. I have seen good examples offered at a fraction of the price.

There are other examples of genuine coins from Groom Lake, but also lots of misidentified coins that have nothing to do with our favorite test site. There are also some completely bogus coins created in the wake of Trevor's book. If a coin has the words BLACK OPS on the reverse side, it is fake.

In Reply to: Authentic Area 51 Challenge Coins ? posted by MB8451 on August 09, 2022 at 12:33:18 PST:


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