Sharing our Certificate Archive with the
Philatelic Community


  Introduction   Help with PF Search   Contact PF   PF Home   PF Search  


Bootstrap Slider

How to Use the PFSearch Program


The Philatelic Foundation’s PFSearch Program allows you to find information in our Certificate Archive about the stamps and covers the PF has examined and our final opinion about each item. In order to access this information, you need to enter information on the search page which appears when you access PFSearch. On the search page you select the criteria to be used to access the information you want about specific stamps or to more generally search for categories of information. Specifying the right criteria is important because there are over 100,000 stamps in this searchable archive. The results from each search are displayed on one or more results pages. The first page of the results shows at the upper left the number of certificates which met the criteria selected. For each of these certificates the results show the image and our opinion about each stamp.


Search Page


Below are some basic suggestions for using PFSearch to obtain information from our certificate archive.


1. To search for all the stamps, covers, proofs and multiples in the certificate archive for a specific Scott catalogue number:

    Enter the catalogue number in the box to the right of Scott Catalogue No.


2. To narrow a search you can use the Symbols or Submission descriptions to limit the search:

    Click on one of the four categories under Symbols to limit the search to, say, "O" original gum stamps or "U" used stamps.

    Click on one of the four categories of Submission Types to limit the search to, say, covers or multiples.


3. To search for graded stamps:

    Enter the catalogue number for the stamp and using the drop down menu next to PF Grade, choose "All Graded", "Equal To or Greater" or "Equal To" and insert the grade number you are searching for.


4.To search for Never Hinged Stamps:

    Check the box to the right of "Never Hinged"


5.To search for information about and entire Issue of stamps, say the Issue of 1869 or the Trans-Mississippi Issue of 1898:

    Enter the year the stamps were issued. However, if other stamps were issued in the same year the search results will include them as well. For example, if you enter 1938 to search for the Presidential Issue of 1938, the search results will include any commemoratives or airmails, etc. also issued that year.


6. To use the Key Word Search:

    Enter the word(s) you are searching for (e.g. "Waterbury" for cancellations from this city, "Pony Express" for that type of cover or "George Washington" for his free-frank).In addition you need to choose Search Only Final Comments, Search Final and Submitted Comments or Search Only Submitted Comments. For most Key Word searches, selecting Search Final and Submitted Comments will generate the broadest results.


7. To search for stamps from a country other then the United States:

    On the drop down menu to the right of "Country" select the country whose stamps you wish to search. For all countries, stamps are archived by the Scott catalogue no.. If the stamp is not in the catalogue or does not have a Scott number, it is best to use the Key Word Search.


Search Page Selection Criteria Definitions


The search page is set up with certain "default" criteria pre-selected for the most common searches. These include: under Country, "United States of America"; under Symbols and Submission Type "All" and under Key Word Search, "Search Only Final Comments". These can be changed using the drop down menus or alternatives displayed on the page.


PF Certificate No.: If you know the specific number of the certificate you are looking for, enter the number. Certificates issued since the 1970s have six digits.


Year Stamp Issued: This is the year the Scott catalogue assigns as the date of issue of the stamp or the first year for a series of stamps considered one issue.


Country: The country which issued the stamp is selected here. The United States of America is automatically entered as the "default" country unless a different country is selected using the drop down menu


Scott Catalogue No.: This is the number assigned by the Scott catalogue to the stamp. The PFSearch program only uses Scott catalogue numbers. Using a catalogue number from any other catalogue will generate erroneous results.If there is no Scott catalogue number for an item (e.g., a type of cancellation or a free frank) you can search for it using the Key Word feature described below.


PF Grade: This is the grade given to stamp by the PF. Enter only the grade number, and omit any additional letter designations like "J" for Jumbo. Grades give to a stamp by any other organization are not searchable using PFSearch. There are three choices for searching PF graded stamps: stamps with a grade equal to or greater than the number entered, stamps with a grade equal to the number entered, and all graded stamps for the catalogue number or category selected for the search.


Symbol: There are five Symbol options relating to the condition of the stamps: "All", "O" Unused, original gum; "X" Unused, no gum; "N" Unused; and "U" Used. If you are seeking only Never Hinged stamps, you need to check the box "Never Hinged" below.


Submission Type: This criteria gives you the ability to restrict the types of items you are seeking in four ways to be more selective than the "All" default. You can select "1" Stamps; "2" Essays, Proofs, Specimens; "3" Cover; and "4" Multiples.


Color: This is the color used by the Scott Catalogue for the stamp.


Never Hinged: If you are doing a search only for never hinged stamps, check this box


Key Word Search: The Key Word Search enables you to look for stamps based on the word or words you enter.This search is set up to look for the word in both the "Submitted Comments" (how the person submitting the stamp described it) and the "Final Comments" (the PF’s opinion of the submitted description).This will normally generate the broadest and most useful Key Word Search results. For more advanced or technical searches, you can also select a search of only the submitted or final comments.


# of Results per page: This drop down menu allows you to select the number of results to be displayed on the results pages.



Results Page


On the first line under the brown Banner with the words "Sharing our Certificate Archive with the Philatelic Community" you will see:


Number Certificates Selected: This is the number of certificates which met the search criteria entered on the search page. Information for each of these certificates is shown on the search results page or pages.


Navigation Boxes:

    "First" The first page in the list of results

    "Next" The next page in the list of results

    "Prev" The previous page in the list of results

    "Last" The last page in the list of results

    "New Search" returns you to the PFSearch page and all information about the last search is deleted.

    "Modify Search" returns you to the PFSearch page which shows the criteria selected for the last search.


Sort By: These boxes have drop down menus to help you select how you wish to display the search results. You can select to show the results in order of Certificate numbers, Symbols (e.g., unused or used), or catalogue number. Using the next box, you can choose to show the results in descending or ascending order.


Certificate Details show information from the certificate issued for the stamp. If a later certificate has been issued for the same stamp, the number of that certificate is shown, and by clicking on that number you can go to the later certificate.


Image shows the picture of the stamp or cover. For more recent certificates, the scans in our archive are a higher quality than that used on the certificate. If you click on "Full Size Image" and a higher resolution scan is available in our archive, it will appear.


Final shows the final opinion about the stamp after the words "And we are of the Opinion That". Any words before this phrase are from the submitter’s description of the stamp.

©2010 All philatelic content on this site is property of The Philatelic Foundation all rights reserved
Search Engine powered by Droege   ©2010 Droege Computing Services, Inc. all rights reserved.