|Gheorghe Muresan (center) with Paul Berger and Paul's son Chris.|
The extremely tall former NBA star Gheorghe Muresan (7’ 7”) lent some stature to the grand re-opening of Collector’s World, 7030 Columbia Pike, Annandale, June 8.
Muresan’s head nearly scraped the ceiling as he chatted with fans and signed autographs. He played for the Washington Bullets in the 1990s. (In 1999, the team was renamed the Wizards.) He told fans he started playing basketball in the eighth grade in Romania. Now 42, Muresan lives in Maryland and coaches youth basketball and hosts basketball clinics. His sons, ages 12 and 15, are still growing, he says.
The opening celebration also included an appearance by Wizards cheerleaders, raffles for a baseball autographed by Brooks Robinson and other prizes, free food, and a ribbon-cutting by Mason Supervisor Penny Gross.
The store is divided into two sections, with comics in front and sports memorabilia in back, just as it was under long-time owner, Ron Savino, who retired. The new owners, Steve Weber, Damon Hudson, and Doug Steele have made some changes, though.
Steele brought in more hockey items, including rare stickers from 1968, stand-up metal hockey players, and a rare Bobby Orr “puck card” (in photo below) worth $2,500. Many of the new items are from Steele’s personal collection. “It’s been tough to part with it, but owning a shop makes it palatable,” he said.
What’s hot in sports memorabilia right now are items actually used, such as jerseys worn by players and footballs used in games, he says. Among the most valued items in the shop is an autographed jersey worn by Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (photo on right).
According to Steele, the value of sports memorabilia depends more on the popularity of athletes than their achievements. He predicts the value of items with A-Rod and the other baseball players caught up in the recent steroid scandal will decline. On the other hand, the value of merchandise featuring Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre soared after he played an outstanding game the day after his father died.