How to Find Rare and Valuable VHS Tapes

How to Find Rare and Valuable VHS Tapes

Ray Crowe

Ray CroweYahoo! Contributor Network
Apr 5, 2011 “Share your voice on Yahoo! websites.
VHS left the entertainment scene completely around 2005 after years of waning popularity, leaving millions of people around the country with closets full of the obsolete devices. Six years later, you still find scores of videotapes for cheap at thrift stores, flea markets, and yard rummage sales, oftentimes for 50 cents or even a quarter apiece! And even though DVD itself (which is currently the common medium for film viewing at home along with Blu-Ray and HD) has been around for roughly 13 years, only a small percentage (probably 10 percent) of the vast number of films and programs released to VHS are currently in print on or have even yet made it to DVD. The other 90% can fetch nice prices when found on VHS, since this is the only way for film buffs or collectors to see them, so it’s worth the time and effort for value hunters to do a little research and get a feel for the kinds of films that are rare and in demand. I’ve outlined briefly below a few tips for locating valuable VHS when you’re out and about scavaging for lost gems:1.) Look for big boxes!Some movies that are in print on DVD can still be valuable on VHS due to the age, rarity or design of their cover sleeves (or boxes). Movies with big plastic clamshell cases are a bit iffy, since a lot of old Warner Bros. and MGM clamshells aren’t collectible in and of themselves (except for a few early releases of a limited number of popular films). Disney clamshell boxes from the early to mid ’80s are, however, which is probably why you don’t see them too often! Most of the early VHS releases are worth getting, and one valuable ’80s Disney movie on VHS that is actually in print on DVD is the original VHS recalled release of The Little Mermaid . Disney films/programs like Child of Glass , Song of the South , Tron , Snow White Live at Radio City Music Hall and Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow also happen to be unavailable on DVD and are also pretty valuable!In particular, pay attention to the white-sleeved clamshells with Mickey Mouse from Fantasia on the front: 

Movies with oversized cardboard boxes are pretty difficult to find in good condition these days since they wear so easily, so these are usually worth checking out if you ever run into them. Many of the movies released with big boxes by defunct distributors such as Paragon, USA and Midnight Video also happen to be unavailable on DVD, which increases their value.

2.) Don’t look past the wrestling tapes!

Many live and pay-per-view wrestling tapes from the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s haven’t yet seen legitimate DVD releases, and as a result they’re in high demand. Wrestlemania, WWF, Starrcade, Bash at the Beach and early In Your House tapes tend to be worth anywhere from 10 to 100 dollars each, and videos featuring deceased wrestlers like Owen Hart are also quite collectible.

3.) Keep an eye out for professional instructional videos!

Medical and nursing care, law, heavy duty construction and psychiatry or counseling tapes are often worth your time, and the more intensive the better! Certain craft videos involving painting, sewing, or obscure hobbies can also make good finds. Some examples of valuable instructional tapes Cross-Examination: How to Be an Effective and Ethical Witness , Mosby’s Nursing Video Skills , Learn to Sew , Bob Ross’s The Joy of Painting series, and Dr. Allen E. Ivey’s Therapy series .

4.) Special releases of big name, blockbuster movies can rake it in!

The majority of the films labeled simply as “special” or “anniversary” editions are usually not worth much, but movies released with foreign subtitles (especially comedies), foreign imports and promotional screener tapes often are. You’ll need to some close inspection to locate a lot of subtitled movies, but imports and screeners are usually not that tough to spot! Films like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation , The Family Man and Natural Born Killers are examples of popular valuable subtitled movies, while nearly all foreign imports and promotional screeners are worth at least something.


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