Saturday 18th June 2022 - Cara Bentham
Before you're tempted to just pull all the ribbon out and chuck those VHS tapes you discovered in the loft, have a read and see if you could be in to make some cash!
A sealed Back To The Future VHS tape has just sold at auction in the US for a whopping $75,000. It is thought to be the most expensive tape ever sold. Part of the value of this tape can be attributed to the fact that it was once owned by actor Tom Wilson who starred as Biff Tannen in the classic movie series.
The tape was sold with a signed note from the actor, which said: "This is a VHS tape of the first release of Back to the Future, sent to me by the studio at that time. Since I knew that the VHS platform would be around forever, I saved it for later and now I can't find a VCR. Oh well. Enjoy!"
While most VHS collections do not contain tapes worth quite this much, there is reportedly a mini-boom for old VHS tapes amongst collectors. If you have an old VHS collection, you could have some gems in there worth a tidy sum.
The tapes that fetch the highest prices are the first editions of hit movies, tapes in their original wrappings and some titles never released on DVD.
You may be surprised by some of the titles that have significant value as they're not always the mainstream hit movies we expect to be highly sought after. While classic hits and popular family movies, such as those produced by Disney, can often sell for a decent amount, rarer titles could be worth more. Out-of-print titles, which were never released onto DVD, tend to have a high value.
Many valuable VHS tapes are banned films or low-budget horror films, popular amongst collectors. The 1984 Video Recordings Act stipulated that all home movies had to be certified by the BBFC. Many rare B-movie horror films broke these new censorship guidelines with violent and explicit scenes. As such, tapes that predate the regulations can fetch a small fortune.
That said, pristine condition copies of well-known movies can still fetch hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pounds at auction. Some of the most notable titles that have sold for more than £1000 at auction include:
• Superman the Movie
• Superman 2 / Superman 3
• Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie
• Fight Club
• Star Wars
• The Little Mermaid ('banned' 1989 edition)
• Top Gun
These are just a small selection of the titles that have fetched a small fortune at auction in recent years. If you have a collection of VHS tapes at home, consider researching the value of individual titles. Some particular copies of a title are worth much more than others, such as the 1989 edition of the Little Mermaid listed above. In this instance, the edition is worth more because Disney replaced the title cover due to controversy. There is plenty of information online which can help you get an idea of the value of your VHS tapes. Alternatively, you could ask your local auction house for a valuation.