Old VHS tapes could be worth a fortune thanks to nostalgia


June 7 is National VCR Day.

Yes, you read that right. Videocassette recorders are still around and there are enough of them to justify a spot on the National Day Calendar — the national day marketing calendar under digital media company Zoovio, Inc. 

While most people have retired their VCRs, not everyone has gotten rid of these devices or the VHS tapes that worked with these physical video players.

Some might even be holding onto the retro gadgets after seeing that a sealed, mint-condition “Star Wars” VHS tape from 1977 sold for $57,600 in New Jersey by Goldin Auctions, a collectibles auctioneer, in December 2021.

If you have a collection of a limited-edition or unopened VHS tapes, you could be in ownership of a small fortune.

“Most VHS tapes aren’t worth that much money and will sell for only a few dollars,” Baruch Labunski, the CEO at Rank Secure, a Toronto-based digital analytics firm, told FOX Business.

“Rarity and nostalgia are what makes some VHS tapes valuable,” Labunski continued. 

Baruch Labunski said the “rarity and nostalgia” of VHS tapes is what makes them valuable.
AP/Gillian Flaccus

“An original ‘Star Wars’ tape can fetch $3,500 if it’s in a sealed package. A three-piece ‘Halloween’ movie set can bring in $500. A lot has been made of the Walt Disney Home Video releases from 1981. The Black Diamond editions bring in the most money, with most ranging between $50 and $300.”

Labunski added that opened and used VHS tapes tend to have their value “dramatically” lowered. 

“Most VHS tapes are sold on eBay,” he said. “Looking at the recent sales of Disney movies, the price range was $20 to $316. Cult classic VHS movie prices ranged from $35 to $200.”

In the auction world, appraisers have listed VHS tapes that are racking up bids that are thousands of dollars.

At the time of publication, Goldin Auctions has a dozen VHS tapes that have a current bid of at least $1,000. 

The available titles are “The Blues Brothers” (1980), “Star Wars” (1977, 1984), “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” (1984) “Alien” (1984), “Batman” (1989), “Coming to America” (1990), “Double Impact” (1991), “Batman Forever” (1995), “Jurassic Park” (1994), “Happy Gilmore” (1996) and “Blade” (1998).

An original video tape of 'Back to the Future.'
An original video tape of ‘Back to the Future.’
Comic Connect/Triangle News
An original video tape of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.'
An original video tape of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark.’
Comic Connect/Triangle News

Heritage Auctions, a Dallas-based auction house, on the other hand, has 260 VHS tapes up for sale.

The four VHS tapes that are leading Heritage Auctions’ VHS tape lot are “Back to the Future” (1986), current bid of $20,000; “Star Wars” (1984), current bid of $17,000; “First Blood” (1982), current of bid $12,000; and “Jaws” (1983), current of bid $10,500.

Heritage Auctions has sold more than 541,380 VHS tapes, according to the auction house’s past sale archive.

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