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E.T., The Goonies, Back to the Future: Your old VHS tapes might actually be worth thousands

Time to dig those VHS tapes out of your parents' basement

a collection of vhs tapes
Lucie'sDad

Movie fans know that the method of watching a film really adds to the feelings and emotions you experience in relation to the picture. We all wish we could watch everything on the massive and aesthetically impressive theater screens that movies are intended to be shown on from the time they’re released. But after a movie has been out for a while, the avenue we watch it by at home changes drastically through the decades. Now we seem to subscribe to a gluttony of streaming services that provide an endless number of movies to watch. Some people want to own films on Blu-ray or 4K. Old-school nerds will remember when everything had to be watched on VHS tapes, though.

The feeling of putting in a tape and hearing the cartridge rewind or fast forward created a tangible excitement for when the movie would finally begin. As DVDs started to take over the market in the late 1990s, VHS became a thing of the past. The format became essentially obsolete in the late 2010s, but any person familiar with the way retro technology works probably knows where this story is going. Collection addicts and movie nuts yearning for nostalgic remnants of their past are willing to pay big bucks for VHS tapes right now, leading to a classic supply and demand dilemma on sites like eBay.  Some of the greatest movies of all time are being sold in the VHS format for thousands of dollars on the auction site:

All of these movies are in mint condition, many of them never being opened from their original wrapping when they were bought decades ago. The quality of the tape is invaluable to the price of the movies due to the deterioration that happens to these cassettes if they have been used. Unlike digital formats and discs, VHS tapes can become unwatchable if they have been used for a long time. Some people report poor footage quality if the tape has been watched over and over again. They can also degrade over time regardless, especially if they have been stored in hot or humid locations or near magnetic sources.

What this means is you should look around your house for any old VHS movies that you never opened that may have slipped through the cracks. Put them on eBay and make a pretty penny from what was seemingly an innocuous purchase back in the day. Or wait even longer and see if the value of these tapes goes up even more.

Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek, Quote.com, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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