VHS 101: Guest Blogger junkstorebaby on What to Watch For!

by Sarah Thomas

082922B2-1024x536 VHS 101: Guest Blogger junkstorebaby on What to Watch For!The hobby of VHS collecting is emerging! Yes, VHS, the dead media of the 80s and 90s is now a sought-after collectible. There are different preferences when it comes to what collectors are looking for. Some like to collect open media to watch and relive their youth, some prefer the more pristine and valuable sealed VHS. Then, there’s the crossover, like myself, who collect both. You may have read articles by News Stations telling you that your old tucked-away tote of Disney VHS could be a gold mine! Let us start by dispelling that rumor and talking about what exactly people are collecting.

Though Disney tapes are not widely sought after by any type of collector, different online articles and new sites use eBay listings to sell the idea that late 90s and early 2000 Disney VHS tapes are somehow valuable because there are listings on eBay for astronomical prices.

Check the Sold Listings

 For anyone who may be new to collecting, you must check the sold listings and auction results to see what people are actually paying for them. Just checking your local thrift store or goodwill, you will see that these tapes are everywhere. They were mass produced and they are essentially worthless. Some donation-based stores won’t even accept them anymore!

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While few, there are some Disney tapes that hold value, but they are not the black diamond clamshells that you can find at any local junk store.  As I mentioned before, people collect open and sealed VHS tapes. By sealed, I am referring to the original plastic wrap that they came in. Open tapes vary in price with some being worth just a few dollars and other more rare tapes potentially being worth several hundred.

The majority of higher-value open tapes that I’ve found are in the horror genre. Some of these tapes often hold more value because of their obscurity, limited production, and large fan base. Horror VHS is an entire community of its own.

Sealed is where it’s at!

Sealed tapes, on the other hand, can be worth thousands in any genre! Similar to comics, the variation of a tape affects the value. The most valuable tapes are first or early prints of the movies (or shows) we all remember and love. Movies that had a cultural impact, were top box office hits, or later became cult classics.

Learning the difference in releases, watermarks and prints makes all the difference and gives collectors in this emerging market a great opportunity to find valuable tapes very cheap! A quick eBay sold listing search will reveal the varying prices that an inexperienced collector would view as the same tape! This is due to things like the year it was printed, the seal, condition, release year, and watermarks, which can make all the difference in rarity and value. 

A perfect example is Star Wars

If you just look at what sealed Star Wars tapes are selling for, you’re going to get a wide variety of results. 

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This is Star Wars, first print of 1984. It sold at Goldin auctions for $34,000 in February 2022.

While this almost identical Star Wars sold for thousands less because it is a later print.

Screenshot-2022-08-29-105046-1024x457 VHS 101: Guest Blogger junkstorebaby on What to Watch For!This trend continues with the most desirable sealed tapes because of their rarity and significance for being the first. For many who are eager to join the community of VHS, whether you are interested in finding tapes that awaken that nostalgic feeling or are looking for a new opportunity to invest in top titles in an emerging collectibles market, your first step is learning how to identify the specific details on the tapes.

After you know what you are looking for, the hunt is on!

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Hi! I’m Juke (@junkstorebaby). I collect open and sealed VHS as well as selling them with my best friend on Whatnot! (Check out my page.) We pride ourselves on our $1 auctions and entertaining banter! We mainly sell what I collect (open horror and cartoon VHS tapes) but we also sell comics! Keys, variants, first appearances, and slabs all start at $1 with us, every Wednesday on Whatnot. In addition, I do the weekly Tape Heads podcast on Tales From The Flipside’s Youtube channel to share what I’m learning and talk about this hobby with other collectors. Check it out!

Thanks to Junkstorebaby for her awesome insight!

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Upgrade2_Footer VHS 101: Guest Blogger junkstorebaby on What to Watch For!*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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1 comment

Nico Esq September 1, 2022 - 2:41 pm

Great insights!! Love the guest blogger.


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