Cole McAuliff is passionate about collector cards.
Two years out of graduating ASU, studying sports business and statistics, the Tempe man has found success with monthly shows. He hosts an annual Spring Training event, too.
The Arizona State Card Show Spring Training Spectacular is 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, March 24; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 25; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 26, at the Phoenix Convention Center.
“This is the biggest one yet,” says McAuliff, a Fountain Hills High School graduate. “It’s 64,000 square feet and 390 dealer tables.”
Hosted by McAuliff’s Collectibles on College, the fifth Arizona State Card Show boasts hundreds of dealer tables showcasing sports card collections, sports memorabilia, TCG (Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic, MetaZoo), coins, Funko-Pops and comics.
The dealers will actively buy, sell and trade. Kids 12 and younger are admitted free.
He’s planning special guests for the show. In the past, he’s hosted former quarterback Jake Plummer, cornerback Byron Murphy, D-backs first baseman Christian Walker and legendary pitcher Rollie Fingers. Among the guests this year is D-backs outfielder Jake McCarthy, whose appearance date and time is being confirmed.
“I’m going for the baseball, Spring Training approach, having relevant guys from the Cactus League,” he says. “I have three who are, hopefully, on the cusp of confirming.”
McAuliff held his first event in 2018, as a small monthly show on College Avenue, inspiring the brand’s name. Since then, he started the Arizona State Card Show to elevate and grow the hobby of collecting.
Not everyone collects pristine products. McAuliff says he knows a collector who focuses on cards in poor condition.
According to an inaugural study by eBay, the State of Trading Cards report, there was a 142% surge in domestic sales of the products. More than 4 million sports, collectible card games and nonsport trading cards were sold in 2020 than the year prior.
Sports business analyst Darren Rovell spoke to eBay in 2021.
“Never have I seen trading cards show such a steep increase in popularity and value,” he said. “Gross sales in basketball cards have exploded in the past year, increasing by more than 300%. And in just the past couple of weeks, there have been cards selling for more than $500,000 in the collectible card game and sports cards industry on the marketplace.”
Arizona State Card Show
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, March 24; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 25; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 26
WHERE: Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third Street, Phoenix
COST: Tickets start at $7.50
INFO: collectiblesoncollege.com, etix.com, facebook.com/CollectiblesOnCollege
Monthly Card Shows
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the first Saturdays of each month
WHERE: University Presbyterian Church, 139 E. Alameda Drive, Tempe
COST: Visit website for charge
INFO: collectiblesoncollege.com, facebook.com/CollectiblesOnCollege