Have you recently discovered your stash of VHS tapes collecting dust in the garage?
You’d probably tried to search your VHS player in vain, but like most people, there’s a good chance you don’t even have a VHS player at home anymore.
So what do you with VHS tapes? They seem like such a waste of space in the world of mp4s and DVDs, but don’t dispose them just yet.
You can actually sell VHS tapes and earn some cash. In rare cases, these VHS tapes can turn out to be super-valuable to people who collect them.
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Is There a Market for VHS Tapes?
Before you sell VHS tapes on your next garage sale, you should first learn about the value of each one, and where you can find a buyer interested in them.
1. If You Don’t Know the Movie Title, It’s Probably Worth Something
Modern, mass-produced movies dating back to the 80s usually don’t cost anything more than a few dollars.
It doesn’t matter how popular the movie is (example: Back to the Future series) since these titles are often released in a massive scale. And when there are copies everywhere, the demand is very low as well.
So if you found a VHS tape of a movie you don’t know, put it aside and research what you can about it later.
2. Watch out for Documentaries, Live Concerts and Seasonal Releases
Sometimes you find VHS tapes of musicians you know, or a popular TV show’s special Christmas edition.
These types of VHS tapes are exceptions of the first rule.
3. VHS Tapes of Banned Movies
There’s no way to know if a VHS title is banned or not, except to make a Google search or check this list.
They were banned, which means the demand for these titles will remain high until they become un-banned (if ever that happens in this lifetime).
VHS Value Guide: How to Separate Valuable VHS Tapes from Junk
Disney special edition films are reportedly valuable VHS tapes. Here are just several examples you might see online:
- “101 Dalmatians” Black Diamond Edition VHS can go as high as $6,000
- If you have the original “Aladdin” and its sequel “Aladdin and the King of Thieves” in their Black Diamond Edition, the 2-pack VHS tapes could turn into $1,500
- “Dumbo” VHS tapes are sold for $700 a pop
- “The Fox and the Hound” Black Diamond Edition VHS is valued for $600
- “Bambi” can go for $550, even if it’s not a special-edition release
However, Dan Kinem, a hardcore VHS collector who also made the documentary Adjust Your Tracking, insists that all these values are false and that the most amount special-edition VHS tapes go for would be about $100. (A hundred bucks is still something, instead of junk, right?)
Like Kinem, many collectors will tell you that the most valuable VHS tape in the world goes to clam-shell release of “Tales from the QuadeaD Zone,” a direct-to-VHS a 1987 American horror cult classic with only a few copies.
One copy of this was sold for $3,500.
Kinem explains that the amounts reported on sites like this only accounts to the price a seller listed those VHS tapes, and NOT the actual price it was sold for. It’s the same for eBay listings that try to sell VHS tapes for thousands of dollars, only to end the listing without bids or buyers.
So which of these old VHS tapes worth money?
• Horror movies
Interestingly, B-movies that were released straight to VHS are now more in-demand than ever.
Collectors of cult-classic films and low-budget releases take pride in collecting copies of such films because in most cases, their copies are just one in a handful available in the entire world.
Example of titles include 1978 Halloween ($about $250), 555 ($275), or California Axe Massacre ($150).
If you see horror VHS movies with labels from Sun, Thriller Video, Wizard Video, or Slaughterhouse Entertainment (among others), there’s a huge change there is a demand for these rare horror movies.
• Wrestling VHS Tapes
If you’re a wrestling fan, you’re probably aware of the pay-per-view event called “Bash at the Beach”, produced by World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
This VHS tape was released, but soon recalled when Hulk Hogan sued WCW for breach of contract. If you own a copy of this tape, you’d be lucky to sell it for $100 (or more if you’re transacting with a wrestling fan).
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Wrestlemania VHS tapes sell for $50 to $75 a pop.
• Live Concerts and other Special Recordings of Musicians, Bands, Singers and other Artists
In the 80s, many concerts and music TV specials are recorded on VHS tape.
If you have these kinds of VHS tapes, whether they’re from icons like The Beatles and Michael Jackson, or lesser-known artists like Fine Young Cannibals, The Boomtown Rats, or A-ha, you should still try your luck at selling these VHS tapes for cash.
Newer acts like Pink and Backstreet Boys, who broke into the 90s, can still be valuable, depending on the type of VHS tape you have.
For example, if you found an audition tape of Christina Aguilera singing to a Disney song, or Pink collaborating with another artist.
• Super-rare Children’s Shows and Movies
Disney’s “Song of the South” was released as VHS tapes, but never transferred into DVD anymore.
Some people believe the film contained racist content, which is why Disney self-banned the film’s release. The last copy of this movie was sold for $50 on eBay.
The first release of “Alice in Wonderland” on VHS tapes have been sold for about $300. Every now and then, a copy of this title gets listed online, but the value rarely goes higher than this amount.
5 Places to Sell VHS Tapes
If there’s a market for VHS tapes, who buys them? and where?
These 5 places aren’t exclusively made for VHS tape collectors, but they’ve been most effective in passing on these collectibles from one owner to the next.
1. eBay – Many collectors prefer this platform because eBay allows sellers to choose from “Buy it Now,” “Auction-style” or “Send Offer” buttons. When they bid on a listing, they won’t be committed to the sale until they win the auction. Buyers love eBay because it’s connected to PayPal (and this payment gateway usually sides with the buyer when it comes to disputes).
2. Craigslist – Collectors who want to check the condition of the VHS tapes for sale look for items on Craigslist. Since this site is designed to cater for each town, major city or state, transactions are often local in nature and meeting in person is easier.
3. Facebook Marketplace and Groups – Facebook groups are awesome resources because these communities already “group” people by interest, so if a buyer is looking for VHS tapes for sale, they can simply join a “VHS Tape Collectors” group and start their search there.
Facebook’s Marketplace is a bit different, since the target market isn’t really filtered. However, any post placed into the Facebook Marketplace becomes public and 100 times easier to find thanks to Facebook’s search algorithm. So if you sell VHS tapes on the marketplace, anyone who searches for those particular titles can see your listing.
4. deCluttr.com – Compared to other resources on this list, deCluttr is relatively new. But it’s gaining popularity for the second-hand/collectors crowd because the site sells old DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, mobile phones, games, and other tech items. Plus, deCluttr offers next-day payments and free shipping.
5. Traditional garage sales – Collectors will always visit yard sales in hopes of finding their “dream hauls.” If you’re preparing for a yard sale anyway, sell VHS tapes with your other stuff too. The difference now is that you’re armed with knowledge about every VHS tape on your collection, so when someone tries to buy a one-of-a-kind VHS tape, you know there’s a potential to negotiate price.
The Value of Your VHS Tapes for Sale
Know that if you sell VHS tapes with a price tag set in stone, you’d probably be disappointed.
As you’d quickly discover, the world of collecting is a bit tricky when it comes to placing value or price on things.
The demand for a particular title is usually the most important factor when determining if VHS tapes are valuable or not. A horror movie fan would definitely price a B-movie thriller film higher than someone who collects music VHS tapes.
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Hopefully, with this guide above, you’ll decide whether it’s best to junk, sell or collect the VHS tapes you have in hand.
And if you’re looking to sell other things to make money, such as your old phone, a second-hand wedding dress, or your collection of Pokémon cards, there’s always a market for absolutely anything you want to sell.