Collector Profile

Pre-War Pandemonium

By Joe Orlando

Bill Serrao

Bill Serrao


Chief Bender

SMR: When did you start collecting baseball cards?

BS: Basically, I collected as a child like many other collectors did. I started in the early 1970's and was very fortunate because, as my brothers and neighbors grew tired of their cards, they would give them to me. Pretty soon, I ended up with five Reggie Jackson cards, five Hank Aaron cards, five Willie Mays cards and so on and so on. After a brief period when I stopped collecting, I started once again in the early 1980's. I used the extra copies of my cards to finance the acquisition of other cards. If I had five cards of one player, I would keep the nicest one and use the others as trade bait. I started to go backwards in time. I would trade my 1970's cards for 1960's cards and, before you knew it, I was trading those to acquire cards from the 1950's. I became very serious about collecting around 1988 or 1989, which is when I started collecting pre-war cards. I have been fortunate to parlay my childhood collection into my "shrine" so to speak.

Addie JossJohn McGraw

SMR: Today, what is the focus of your collection?

Ty Cobb

BS: At this particular point in time, my collection has become very focused. I currently collect Hall of Fame T206 and Cracker Jack cards in high-end PSA 8's. I am just infatuated with that era of baseball. The history and the stars of that era are really what interest me as far as those particular cards are concerned. There is just something special about that time period.

SMR: I know it's hard to choose but what are some of your favorite cards?

BS: I guess the pinnacle of my collection would be my PSA 8 1914 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb. Everything about that card brings about great feelings. The chase in acquiring the card was fun, Cobb was the greatest all-around player of his generation and the eye-appeal of the card is fantastic. The combination of those things is what really does it for me. Every card has a history and it is really fun to recall how I acquired different cards. First you have to find the card, then it has to be nice enough, then you have to negotiate a price and, finally, you have to pull the trigger on the purchase. A few other favorites would be my T206 Walter Johnson (hands at chest), my T206 Cy Young (portrait) and my T206 Christy Mathewson (dark cap). They are all high-end PSA 8's.

Ty Cobb

SMR: How has grading changed your approach to collecting?

Ty Cobb

BS: As I became more aggressive in my buying, trading and selling, PSA was a great help. It was around 1994-95 when I was trying to upgrade my cards. I realized, after selling raw cards to dealers for years, that I could get much more for my PSA graded cards. There was no question that I could get more "bang for my buck" with PSA graded cards. The PSA graded cards were also much more liquid and that really helped since I was trading so often and had to keep my cards constantly moving. PSA just gave me a real sense of security, I wanted high-end cards but they assured me that the cards were authentic as well.

SMR: What are your collecting goals for the future?

Joe Tinker

BS: My objective is to acquire any of the Hall of Famers, which I don't have already, in PSA NM-MT 8. I have a few cards of great interest such as a Tris Speaker and Grover Cleveland Alexander Cracker Jack cards, a T206 or Cracker Jack Eddie Collins and a T206 Willie Keeler. One of the best parts of being a collector is developing the friendships with other collectors and dealers along the way; it's been a lot of fun.

If you have any of the cards mentioned above or would like to contact collector Bill Serrao, he can be reached at [email protected]

Would You Like To Be Featured In Our Magazine?

If you are a collector of sports memorabilia or cards and would like to be featured in our monthly column entitled "Collector Profile," please fill out the form below and a member of our staff will personally contact you. We feature collectors with all types of interests and collections of all different sizes. It doesn't matter if your collection is worth $2 or $2,000,000; we would like to talk to you. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 800-325-1121 ext. 170 or email me at [email protected] The staff at Sportscard Market Report would like to thank you for your time and we look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely, Joe Orlando - Editor


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