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Provisional.  Issued under temporary conditions before something permanent can be established. The coin or medal issued under these conditions is called a provisional issue and is often crude in design, execution or both because of the lack of the full facilities to correctly manufacture the item. A related term is provisional mint – the temporary mint that makes coins or medals – before a fully equipped mint can be set up.

The federal coinage of 1792 is an example of American coins that are provisional. A number of colonial coins would also fall in this category since they were issued under extremely transient conditions. A provisional medal might be the Confederation Government Indian Peace Medal of 1790 (Julian IP-50) issued under the most severe conditions.

The term is used in philately (where it has basically the same meaning) but is in contrast with a "definitive" a stamp of regular issue. The closest term in numismatics in contrast to a provisional is a production run piece.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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