While decluttering your home, have you recently discovered a stash of VHS tapes collecting dust in your attic or in your garage?
Maybe you or your parents saved your favorite childhood movies, figuring they can be watched by the future generation.
Or maybe your family collects classic movies or movies starring your favorite actors.
You probably tried to look for your old VHS player, but chances are you don’t have a working one anymore.
It’s tempting to just throw them away, but wait just a moment! Your VHS tapes may be valuable to others.
Today, I explore which VHS tapes are worth something and where to sell VHS tapes.
Is There a Market for Your VHS Tapes?
Before you sell VHS tapes, it’s best to take stock of what you have, learn about their potential value, and where you can find buyers interested in them.
1. Rare or Old Movies (aka If You Don’t Know the Movie Title, It’s Probably Worth Something)
Mass-produced VHS 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 since these titles are often released on a massive scale. And when there are copies everywhere, the demand is very low as well.
So if you have a VHS tape of a movie you don’t know and looks old, put it aside and research what you can about it later. If it’s a limited release or a movie that’s older, it might be valuable.
2. Watch out for Documentaries, Live Concerts, and Seasonal Releases
You may have VHS tapes of documentaries (which are kind of rare), live performances of popular musicians, or a TV show’s special Christmas edition.
These types of VHS tapes are exceptions to the first rule.
3. VHS Tapes of Banned Movies
There’s no way to know if a VHS title is banned or not at first glance.
Fortunately, it’s a Google search away. Or check this list for titles banned in the US.
As long as a title is banned, the demand is likely to remain high until the ban is lifted.
VHS Value Guide: How to Separate Valuable VHS Tapes from Junk
Disney Black Diamond films are reportedly valuable VHS tapes. Here are some of several examples you might see online:
- 101 Dalmatians Black Diamond Edition VHS 1992 release can go as high as $6,000
- If you have the Black Diamond Edition original Aladdin and its sequel Aladdin and the King of Thieves, it could fetch $1,500
- Dumbo VHS tapes are sold for $700 a pop
- The Fox and the Hound Black Diamond Edition VHS is valued at $600
- Bambi Black Diamond Edition VHS can go for $550, even if it’s not a special-edition release
(If you have a bunch of old Disney movies, my guide on where to sell Disney VHS tapes is specifically for you.)
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 that special-edition VHS tapes go for would be about $100. It’s still something.
Although if you do have Black Diamond Disney VHS tapes (you would know by the black diamond on the spine of the clamshell case and on the cassette label that says “The Classics”), you can get up to $250 for it, depending on the movie and the condition of the tape and the case.
Even Snopes.com has weighed in on this persistent rumor, marking it as “mostly false” except for a few flukes when Disney VHS tapes have been sold for thousands of dollars.
Like Kinem, many collectors will tell you that one of the rarest, if not the rarest VHS tape in the world is the clamshell release of Tales from the QuadeaD Zone,” a 1987 direct-to-video American horror cult classic. The movie isn’t particularly good, but there are so few copies made that this remains the holy grail for VHS collectors.
Kinem explains that the dollar amounts reported on sites like this only cite 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 what VHS tapes are actually worth money?
Every time you have something vintage that you want to possibly sell, assess it against five factors: rarity, aesthetics, desirability, authenticity, and condition.
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How many copies were actually made of the VHS tape? You can find this out with some Googling or possibly contacting the film production and manufacturing company.
And of the copies produced, how many are being sold? Some VHS tapes were mass-produced but are now rare finds.
The specific appearance of the clamshell case and the cassette tape itself can also be a factor in its value. A unique movie poster, a differently colored VHS tape, or even a typo error can add to its asking price.
How coveted is this VHS tape? Often, it’s a function of how popular the movie itself is, but sometimes it’s coveted because it’s rare.
Part of the thrill of hunting down VHS tapes is researching and finding out whether a particular tape is authentic. Was it really produced and released when the seller says it was? Or is it a cleverly done copy?
Lastly, the condition of the VHS tape is yet another factor that can add to the price you can sell a VHS tape for. Tapes that are still shrink-wrapped will certainly be more expensive than those that have seen countless movie nights.
Old 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 of a handful available in the entire world.
Examples of titles include the 1978 release of Halloween (about $250), 555 ($275), and California Axe Massacre ($150).
Other types of horror movies that are being hunted by collectors include those that were only released on VHS but never on DVD.
Needless to say, these movies are now difficult to find.
If you see horror VHS movies with labels from Sun, Thriller Video, Wizard Video, or Slaughterhouse Entertainment (among others), there’s a huge chance that 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 2000, produced by the 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 can sell it for $100, or more if you’re transacting with a wrestling fan.
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 P!nk and Backstreet Boys, who broke into the 90s, can still be valuable, depending on the type of VHS tape you have.
Home-recorded concerts and TV specials may also fetch modest prices as these aren’t mass-produced and readily available.
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Rare Children’s Shows and Movies
Disney’s Song of the South was released on VHS but never released on DVD.
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.
Tapes from the first release of Alice in Wonderland on VHS 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.
8 Places to Sell VHS Tapes
So you’ve listed down all the VHS tapes you have, and you’ve (hopefully) done your research on how much you can sell them for.
Here are some of the best online and in-person places to sell your VHS tapes.
eBay is immensely popular with sellers of collectibles because it has one of the largest online markets and there are various options for selling your collectibles.
eBay allows sellers to choose from “Buy It Now” or “Auction-style” modes.
Buy It Now is the most straightforward; you can set a fixed price for the item, which stands until the item is sold.
Auction is exactly how it sounds; buyers place their bid for the item they want, and after a set number of days, the winning bid gets the item.
“Best Offer” is a feature that you can enable on both Buy It Now and Auction listing. It allows buyers to name their own price; it’s up to you to either let go of the item at their price or hold out for a better offer.
Facebook Marketplace has become one of the more popular ways to sell stuff locally, and VHS tapes are no exception.
It’s simple to get started. Create a Facebook account (if you don’t have one already), post high-quality photos of your VHS tapes for sale, write a truthful description, and post it.
Another good thing about using Facebook Marketplace is that there are no fees or commissions when you use this platform.
Facebook Groups, on the other hand, opens you up to a larger community that’s already engaged and interested in collecting or trading VHS tapes.
Because Facebook Groups is technically a community, it doesn’t offer much recourse in terms of customer service or compensation in case you get scammed or if a buyer doesn’t show up. The worst that can happen is a member can be kicked out and banned from the group.
But as long as you follow the group’s rules, build trust, and remain engaged you may get a better experience out of Facebook Groups than Marketplace.
Here are some Facebook Groups to start you off:
You can also search for Facebook Groups that have “VHS tapes” in the name and check out the group rules of each one if you’re allowed to sell.
Mercari is a local selling app but is a bit extra.
Once an agreement has been reached between you and a buyer, a driver will pick up the VHS tape and deliver it to the buyer. You’ll get paid through the app.
This saves a lot of time and safeguards privacy, since you’re not arranging the meetup or exchanging cash.
All this convenience comes at a price, though; Mercari charges a 10% commission for every completed sale.
OfferUp is another app geared toward buying and selling locally.
OfferUp can work in the classic way, where buyer and seller message through the app, agree on a price and a Community MeetUp Spot, and meet in person to exchange the goods for cash.
Or you can ship the items to your buyer using OfferUp’s shipping service. This carries a fee of 12.9% of your item’s final price with a minimum fee of $1.99.
The OG local classifieds is still around and still one of the popular places to sell old VHS tapes.
Since this is strictly a cash-for-goods arrangement, you don’t need to pay any seller fees. However, keeping safe from scammers rests solely on you, so take the necessary precautions when meeting up with someone you only know online.
Etsy is primarily where crafters sell their handmade goods, but it’s become more commonplace to find vintage items here, including VHS tapes.
You might find it tricky to sell your VHS tapes here, as visitors to the site are usually looking for something else.
But then again, vintage items is on brand with Etsy, so it’s not impossible for hobbyists to find your listings.
Amazon may seem like an unexpected choice for VHS tapes, but buyers may actually find some rare movies here.
Also, it’s quite simple to create an Amazon Seller account and then post your VHS tapes for sale, complete with photos and detailed descriptions.
Collectors will always visit yard sales in hopes of finding their “dream hauls.”
If you’re decluttering and 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 in your collection, so when someone tries to buy a one-of-a-kind VHS tape, you know there’s a potential to negotiate the price.
Start Selling Your VHS Tapes
Know that if you sell VHS tapes with a price tag set in stone, you’d probably be disappointed.
As you’ll 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.
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, your baseball cards, or your collection of Pokémon cards, there’s always a market for absolutely anything you want to sell.