Are Your VHS and Beta Tapes Worth Money? Here’s Where to Sell Them
We investigated the most valuable VHS and Beta tapes to show you what they’re worth and where to sell them
|Many VHS tapes are worth 50 cents to a few dollars, though collectible tapes can sell for up to $50 or more. Betamax tapes can sell for up to $20 or more. Here are some real-world videotape values.|
|Tales from the QuadeaD Zone||VHS||Horror||$700|
|Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Black Diamond)||VHS||Children’s||$5 – $25|
|Halloween (1978 MEDA first release)||VHS||Horror||$250|
|WCW Bash at the Beach 2000||VHS||Pro Wrestling||$499|
|The Beatles: Let It Be||VHS||Music||$99|
|Barney: Waiting for Santa||VHS||Children’s||$500|
|Dumbo (first release)||VHS||Children’s||$100|
|The Legend of Hillbilly John||VHS||Out-of-Print||$125|
|Garbage Pail Kids||Betamax||Children’s||$108|
|The Lost Boys||Betamax||Horror||$75|
To most, the abandoned video store was worthless. Ravished by Hurricane Katrina, the building’s roof was caved in, there were no doors, and a raccoon had taken up residence. But to Dan Kinem, it was a goldmine.
Kinem, co-director of the documentary film Adjust Your Tracking, had traveled to the video store with a friend in search of rare and valuable VHS tapes.
“When we got there the store was basically outside. There was so much mold that we both were sick the rest of the trip,” Kinem says. “I’m not kidding you when I tell you we found some of the rarest tapes possible but nearly died in the process. But, we made so much money off that store and literally saved these tapes from being lost forever.”
|“We found some of the rarest tapes possible but nearly died in the process… but we made so much money.” – Dan Kinem, Adjust Your Tracking|
Fortunately, you don’t need to pillage ramshackle buildings to find old videotapes – all you need to do is unpack those boxes in your attic or dust off the collection on your shelf. Although most old movies are worth little, you might find a diamond in the rough that’s worth hundreds of dollars.
Here, we show you what makes VHS and Beta tapes valuable, how to find their values, and where to sell them.
- The world’s most valuable VHS and Beta tapes
- How much are your old VHS or Beta tapes worth?
- Where to sell old VHS and Beta tapes
- VHS and Beta tape selling tips
The world’s most valuable VHS and Beta tapes
Valuable VHS tapes
What is the most valuable VHS tape in the world?
Many collectors agree that title belongs to the Tales from the QuadeaD Zone alternative cover clamshell release.
“Most VHS collectors know about this movie and really want a copy, but I’ve only ever seen two copies in my life,” says Kinem, who purchased both of those copies. One he kept for his collection; the other, he sold for $3,500.
“If another copy ever pops up, which is unlikely, it will go for an insane amount,” he says.
Copies in the original jacket can likewise fetch a pretty penny, as much as $700 among avid VHS collectors.
Kinem’s sale of Tales from the QuadeaD Zone doesn’t represent the greatest sum ever reported for an old VHS tape. A copy of Halloween is said to have sold for $13,000, for example, while plenty of blog posts claim Disney “Black Diamond” tapes sell for upwards of $10,000. Such claims are dubious at best.
In the case of Halloween, Kinem is doubtful the sale was completed; and if it were, it would be considered a fluke – the tape simply isn’t that valuable. And as far as Disney movies are concerned, the rumor stems from the tendency of bloggers to report what sellers are asking for items on eBay, not what they’re actually selling for.
Notable VHS tapes that do have value, however, include:
Old horror B-movies
Old horror movies can be worth several hundred dollars, especially if they feature unique cover art and never made it to DVD. Many of the most valuable horror VHS tapes are terrible movies (though others have cult followings), yet are highly-collectible – a theme thoroughly explored in Adjust Your Tracking.
Tales from the QuadeaD Zone is the most notable example; but others, like Last House on Dead End Street, can be worth as much as $500. More common are VHS tapes worth around $75 to $100, such as Zombie (1979 Wizard Video big box edition).
Look for titles from the following labels:
- Wizard Video
- Slaughterouse Entertainment
- Thriller Video
Some eBay sales prices include:
- Halloween (1978 MEDA first release): $250
- Humanoids from Atlantis: $203
- Snuff: $202
- 555: $275
- Night Ripper: $187
- California Axe Massacre: $150
Source: Dan Kinem
Pro wrestling videos
VHS tapes of some professional wrestling events can be worth nearly $100 or more. WCW Bash at the Beach 2000 is reportedly the rarest pro wrestling video because it was recalled when Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) sued WCW for breach of contract. Examples of pro wrestling VHS tapes sold on eBay include:
- WCW Wrestle War ’92: $150
- Starrcade ’85: $90
- WCW Bash at the Beach 2000: $499
- WWF Wrestlemania III: $75
Music and concert VHS tapes
Some music and concert VHS tapes can be valuable – even those that were home recorded, if they weren’t mass produced. For example, a home recording of a Britney Spears concert sold on eBay for $49. Other examples include:
- The Beatles Let It Be: $99
- Pink Floyd (Japanese Promo): $49
- Michael Jackson Blood on the Dance Floor: $58
Children’s movies and shows
Those Disney movies might not be worth $10,000, but children’s movies and shows on VHS can still be worth good money. Examples include:
- Barney: Waiting for Santa: $500
- Barney: A Day at the Beach (Sandy Duncan case): $199
- Alice in Wonderland (first release): $299
- Dumbo (first release): $100
- Nickelodeon’s The Worst of You Can’t Do That On Television: $100
Out-of-print (OOP) and banned movies
VHS tapes that didn’t make it to DVD or that were banned can be valuable. Perhaps the most famous example is Disney’s Song of the South, which sells for around $50. Many feel the film contains racist content, so Disney never released it on DVD. Other OOP examples include:
Valuable Betamax tapes
Ray Glasser has amassed a collection of 2,500 Betamax video tapes since he began collecting them in 1976. Today, he operates the Ultimate Betamax Information Guide, and says the most valuable Betamax tapes fall into three categories:
- Earliest releases, such as the first release of Star Wars or the original Magnetic Video releases from the late 1970’s
- Releases from smaller companies that went out of business after just a few movies
- Home recordings of movies that were broadcast a single time on television, and were never released on Beta, VHS, videodisc, or DVD (such as made-for-TV movies broadcast in the 60’s and 70’s)
Many Beta tapes are sold on eBay for around $20; here are three that sold for more:
How much are your old VHS or Beta tapes worth?
“Value is all based on scarcity and demand,” says Kinem. “I have movies that are so rare no other collector owns a copy, but that doesn’t make them the most valuable. It takes a decent amount of people wanting and knowing about that particular tape.”
Glasser echoes that sentiment: “As for how much they are worth, no definitive answer is correct, because it’s about who they’re valuable to,” he says. “To a collector of old video rarities, the value of these Beta movies is much higher than to someone who is going through a bargain bin somewhere and finds an old Beta for fifty cents.”
Source: Adjust Your Tracking
Kinem says mainstream movies are worthless, but if you find something obscure or that you’ve never heard of it’s worth looking it up on eBay’s completed sales and Amazon.
“If the film looks super low-budget, regional, or homemade, then chances are it’s valuable,” he says. “The older the release, the better it is. If you find the original 70’s VHS of a cult movie or horror film then chances are it’s worth more, like original releases of Halloween and Phantasm, because fans want to own the originals of some of their favorite films.”
If you have a VHS or Beta tape you think is valuable:
- Search for it on eBay’s completed sales to see what it’s recently sold for
- Check Amazon to see if it’s listed there, and at what price
- Search for it online to see if you can find mention of its value anywhere (VHSCollector.com is a good resource, as is Glasser’s site)
If you intend to sell your old videotapes, it’s imperative to know what you have and its approximate value before you list.
Source: Dan Kinem
“Do the research yourself. Most people expect others to tell them if something is worth money because they are too lazy to find out themselves,” says Kinem. “If you join a group online to find out if you have something rare, chances are you are going to get eaten alive. It’s best to use a combination of Amazon, eBay completed listings, and Google to decide how rare something is. If you find no information about it online, then you know it’s rare. If it just sold for $200, then you know it’s rare. It might not sell for that price again, but it’ll still go for decent money.”
Another way to gain insight into what motivates collectors to spend big money on old videotapes is to watch Kinem’s Adjust Your Tracking, which details the intricacies of VHS collecting.
Tape condition affects value
Condition is another crucial factor that affects value, though Kinem says condition isn’t as important as rarity.
“If it is a cut box, cut and put into a plastic case, then that decreases the value by a ton. If there’s a lot of fading to the front artwork then that decreases value too,” he says. “Otherwise, I don’t care much about condition. If the movie is rare enough, condition only matters slightly.”
|“I found something the other day that literally has no mention anywhere online. It’s like the movie does not exist. But I found the company released a couple other movies. I saw those going for a decent amount, but they looked way crazier and cooler than the tape I found. So, I deduced that the tape I found was most likely rarer than the others on that company but probably worth half their value.” – Dan Kinem, Adjust Your Tracking|
Everything else being equal, tapes in excellent condition are always more valuable – especially if they’re still sealed and unplayed.
Where to sell old VHS and Beta tapes
The market for old VHS and Betamax tapes isn’t as healthy as it is for DVDs, but there are still plenty of buyers out there – provided you know where to find them. Here are some options:
eBay is packed with collectors seeking rare and valuable videotapes. The auction format is competitive, which can drive up the price enough to cover the ten percent selling fee and beyond.
“Best place, without a doubt, to unload Beta tapes would be eBay,” says Glasser. “Since eBay is so big, and people can bid against each other for an item, a seller could probably get the most money for their tapes there.”
eBay pays instantly via PayPal, and you can pass shipping on to the buyer.
Facebook Marketplace lets you sell VHS and Betamax tapes locally, but if you have a true collector’s item you might fare better on groups. In addition to smaller, regional collector groups, you can sell your tapes on national and international groups like:
- Horror VHS Collectors Unite
- Cult Film, Exploitation, and Horror Blu-Ray, DVD, VHS, & Laserdisc Collectors
- VHS Collectors Group
- VHS/Video2000/Beta – Collectors Unity
- VCR: VHS Collectors Resource
- Cult Film, Exploitation, Asian Cinema & Horror Blu-Ray, DVD, VHS Collectors
- Blu-Ray/DVD/VHS Collectors and Limited Editions – Trade and Sale Bazaar
- VHS Collector
Facebook transactions typically take place in person via cash; however, if you sell via Facebook groups you should ensure you get paid before you ship your tapes. Remember: there is no moderation or protections when you sell on Facebook.
Use hashtags to draw attention to your rare and valuable VHS and Beta tapes on Instagram, suggests Kinem. Like Facebook, you can sell your tapes locally or ship them, and all transactions are private deals between you and the buyer.
If you have a lot of VHS or Beta tapes to sell, you can try Alibris; however, you must pay to be a seller, starting at $19.99 annually.
If you already have an Amazon seller’s account or you have a lot of videotapes to sell, you can list on Amazon – for $39.99 per month plus seller fees. Alternatively, you can sell via Amazon Trade-In for free, though most tapes sell for less than one dollar.
Post VHS and Betamax tapes on Craiglist for free to see if any local collectors are interested.
Local retailers, thrift stores, and pawn shops
Local dealers might buy your videotapes if they have the capacity to resell them for a profit.
Flea markets and yard sales
Set up shop at a local flea market or put your tapes out in a yard sale. Savvy collectors know they can often find diamonds in the rough at such sales, so buyers might come to you.
VHS and Beta tape selling tips
These seven tips will help you get top dollar for your old videotapes:
1. Do your research
Know what you have and its approximate value before you try to sell. Take photos and accurately represent your tapes. Collectors know if you misrepresent what you have, and the last thing you want is a disputed sale.
2. Protect your tapes
Place tapes in plastic protectors, then store them vertically in a dust-free, temperature and humidity controlled environment. Don’t box them up in your basement (it can invite mold). As Kinem says, “There’s nothing worse than a ‘collector’ who keeps his collection in boxes. How can you appreciate a bunch of bins you can’t even access?”
Source: Dan Kinem
3. List every reason a collector might want your tapes
Some people collect VHS tapes and Beta tapes, some collect old horror movies, others collect pop culture and movie franchises. Collectors might be interested in your tapes as secondary items to their primary collections (for example, someone who collects the Star Wars franchise might be interested in Star Wars tapes, but not collect other types of movies).
“It’s a combination of film love and nostalgia, with a sprinkle of ironic hipster love,” explains Kinem. “The first time most people saw their favorite films was on VHS. That love of the format and fond memory never went away for many people who want to relive their youth.”
4. Get multiple offers
Set a target price based on value, then see what multiple collectors will pay to get the best deal – unless someone meets your reserve immediately.
5. Consider shipping
Don’t forget to factor in shipping costs if you’re selling online. Pass them on to the buyer or see if you can split the cost. If not, make sure you can still profit after paying shipping fees.
6. Sell your complete collection
If you do not have individual tapes that appear to be valuable, then consider selling your whole collection as a lot. If you have 100 tapes worth 50 cents each, that’s still $50 cash in your pocket.
7. Take your time
If you’re not in a hurry to sell, you might get more money by biding your time. VHS is enjoying a resurgence in popularity among collectors; and as more people get into collecting, demand for old tapes will increase.
“Because video stores are dying out, people want to recreate them in their homes. That amazing memory of going there as a kid cannot be understated and should not be forgotten,” says Kinem. “VHS is also just a cool and amazing way to see and find rare films. So many movies are not on DVD and will never be on DVD so the only way to own them is VHS.”
Next: Are Your Old Vinyl Records Worth Thousands? Here’s How to Sell Them