Cash In! Your old VHS tapes might actually be worth something

Don’t throw out your old VHS tapes until you read this. With decluttering all the rage, you may be unearthing old VHS movie collections from the 80s, 90s, or earlier from your attic or the back of a closet.

Perhaps you saved your kids’ or grandchildren’s beloved Disney tapes figuring another generation would surely want to watch them.

Now that you may not even own a VHS player, you may be wondering how much cash your outdated technology could bring in. The answer: Probably not much, but it greatly depends on what you have.

Some old VHS tapes fetch real money because they’re hard to find, or fans are especially nostalgic about the film.

You could also get some money from your old tapes of Disney movies if they are Black Diamond editions, which were the original series of VHS tapes released between 1984 and 1994. Look for a black diamond with the phrase “The Classics” on the spine of the VHS clamshell case.

Here are a few that have appeared on eBay recently:

101 Dalmations, Black Diamond edition, has sold for as much as £15.
Aladdin, Black Diamond edition, has sold for as much as £316.
Sleeping Beauty, Black Diamond edition, has sold for as much as £65.
Alice in Wonderland, Black Diamond edition, has sold for as much as £22.50.
The Jungle Book, Black Diamond edition, has sold for as much as £80.
Beauty and the Beast, Black Diamond edition, has sold for as much as £20.
The Rescuers, Black Diamond edition, has sold for as much as £24.96.
Bambi, Black Diamond edition, has sold for as much as £23.99.
Cinderella, Black Diamond edition, has sold for as much as £39.99.
Dumbo, Black Diamond edition, has sold for as much as £60.

Cult classics that can bring in real money
If you happen to have VHS copies of older or more unusual movies that are hard to find now, you might have a winner. Old horror films tend to do well. For instance, Basket Case, a horror/cult film from 1982, recently sold on eBay for £30.

“There absolutely is a used VHS market,” says Tim Allen, a VHS enthusiast and collector who runs a pop culture blog called Video-Tron 2000. “There are enough people out there that enjoy buying video tapes that if you came across a box of old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, you could probably sell them.”

These five have scared up decent selling prices lately:

Friday the 13th (1980) has sold for as much as £39.99.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has sold for as much as £199.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) has sold for as much as £96.
The Shining (1980) has sold for as much as £50.
Intruder (1989) has sold for as much as £34.99.
Collectors often crave particular editions. For example, the Director’s Cut of Alien on VHS from 2004 sold for£50. And Mental Floss reports that Star Wars fans will pay up for the 1982 rental version of 1977’s Episode IV: A New Hope, which doesn’t have the later additional special effects and other changes.

How to store your old VHS tapes
VHS tapes should be kept out of the sun in a cool, dry place where the temperature is consistent. Extreme cold and heat degrade tapes more quickly. Like CDs and DVDs, tapes should be stored vertically to cut down on the risk of warping or cracking.

It’s also wise to rewind VHS tapes fully after watching them. Don’t leave them inside a VCR, where they can get stuck or accumulate additional dust or debris.

A final piece of advice: Store videotapes away from anything that can create a magnetic field, which in some instances can erase the contents of a tape.

That means not storing them alongside loudspeakers, which may contain magnets; surge protectors; or high-voltage electrical lines.

And if you want to digitise old-school media to archive or restore, you should do it sooner than later. A lot of the information stored on a film negative or a VHS cassette will lose clarity and vibrancy with each passing day.

Oxford Duplication Centre

Digitisation specialists within audio, video, film, image and text.

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