Got VHS tapes collecting dust on a shelf somewhere? Maybe you already reclaimed the space and they’re sitting in an attic long-forgotten. Hopefully you didn’t throw them out, though, as it turns out there might be quite the market for some old tapes. Modern directorial practice for movie releases and re-releases tends to include adding or editing the film from the theatrical version. While some people don’t mind or even enjoy these changes, for others, the original cut is worth a hefty price tag.
Your old VHS tapes could be worth as much as $9,999. One report earlier this year by Your Nation News alleged that a Beauty and the Beast VHS tape sold on eBay for $9,999.
It explained the increase in prices by pointing to editing changes made in subsequent releases of popular films, leading collectors to desire the original in order to obtain the full cut.
Others are less convinced by such stories.
“There’s a lot of brouhaha going on about those but the fact remains that at the moment…they might list for high prices but they’re not selling,” Tony Pernicone, a fine arts dealer who has specialized in valuing Disney memorabilia for over three decades, told Vocative. “Everything is all speculative and it’s all word of mouth, as far as I can tell.”
Vocative reported that in the month prior to the publication of the article in June, for example, users tried to sell more than 130 Beauty and the Beast tapes they labeled as rare.
“I see this all the time. People come to me and say, ‘I saw a comparable thing online and they’re selling it for x amount of dollars.’ But the fact of the matter is that it’s selling five other places for a fraction of the cost,” Pernicone added.
The article suggested that the reports of black diamond Disney tapes being worth thousands lacked substance and that online articles and rumors may have artificially inflated prices.
Nonetheless, some items are selling for substantial prices. There were 11 VHS tapes from the black diamond Disney collection that sold for more than $400 on eBay earlier this year.
The Birmingham Mail provided a list earlier this month of the 10 most expensive VHS tapes. These included Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks, with an estimated sale price of around $1,800, The Beast in Heat (around $1,450) and Betrayed (approximately $1,320).
The Mail article did not specify the study that these figures were taken from, nor where these tapes were sold.
Pernicone remained unconvinced.
“There’s no way to establish it as a market,” he told Vocative. “They’ve been sold and no one’s placing a premium on them. There were thousands that went out. It’s not like there was a limited supply or they were numbered. If it was something like that then you might have a stronger case.”