While decluttering your home, have you recently discovered a stash of VHS tapes collecting dust in your attic or in your garage?
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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 on your next garage sale, 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, 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 find 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, except to make a Google search or to 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 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 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 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.
Like Kinem, many collectors will tell you that 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 cites 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.
How many copies were actually made of the VHS tape? You can find this out with some Google skills and 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 or a differently colored VHS tape can add to its asking price.
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How coveted is this VHS tape? Often, it’s a function of how popular the movie itself, 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 is? Or is it a cleverly done copy?
Lastly, the condition of the VHS tape is yet another factor that can add to how much you can sell a VHS tape for. Tapes that are still shrink-wrapped will certainly be more expensive than those that have seen years of 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 in 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).
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.
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.
4 Places to Sell VHS Tapes
If there’s a market for VHS tapes, who buys them? And where?
These 4 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.
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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 to individual towns, major cities, or states, transactions are often local and in-person.
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. 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 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 wedding dress, or your collection of Pokémon cards, there’s always a market for absolutely anything you want to sell.
Have you got VHS tapes you’re planning to sell? Someone reading might just be interested. Share it with us in the comments!