If you grew up in the 1980s or 1990s, you probably had a ton of VHS tapes on your bookshelves or media shelves at home. There could be Disney VHS tapes value for these today! Before DVDs, cable on-demand or streaming services were popular, VHS was the ticket to being able to watch your favorite movies at home. As with all outdated items, people think that if they hold on to these treasured beauties, one day they may be worth something leading to the question of Disney VHS tape value.
We saw this phenomenon with the Pokemon cards popular around the same time as the Disney VHS tapes. Today, old, rare Pokemon cards can be worth a few hundred dollars. This has led many Disney collectors to wonder at the Disney VHS tape value and if they can sell their old Disney VHS tapes one eBay or other resale sites.
So let’s go through and discuss the current Disney VHS tape value and if it’s worth taking the time to pull those old Disney VHS tapes out of storage.
Disney VHS History
Walt Disney did not originally intend for his classic movies to be released into the home for watching. Classic films were re-released in theaters on a 7-year cycle and because they were not available all the time, people flocked to the theaters to see their favorites. This was a guaranteed money-maker for the Disney company.
Walt’s son-in-law, Ron Miller, who became the Disney President and CEO decided to try and pave the way for a new way to make money for the company by releasing films for the home audience. None of the first VHS films released were animated classics. The first Disney VHS that was released for rentals only was Pete’s Dragon, then The Black Hole, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
It wasn’t until 1982, after Miller’s program was successful that Disney board members agreed to release animated classics. At this time Eisner was the CEO of Disney. They first released Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland. Robin Hood was a release from the Disney Vault and they priced the film high in stores to see if there was even demand for the tape. Of course, there was and Pinocchio followed at a slightly lower price point in 1985. At this time it was a good moment for Disney VHS tape value.
With this success, Eisner decided to open the Disney vaults and release one Disney classic on VHS every year. This was what brought the Disney classics to homes and became a huge money-maker for Disney as the Disney VHS tape value was high.
When Disney began creating new animated classics, these films were made available after their run in theaters was complete. Some creations were even straight to VHS without a run in a movie theater.
Because of Miller and Eisner, the Disney classics were accessible to anyone who could get to the store and purchase the VHS and a VHS tape player. Everyone had these movies at their homes to watch over and over again.
When DVD became the new standard, Disney films were released to DVD, then on-demand services, and finally streaming services. Disney currently owns and operates its own streaming service Disney+ where Disney fans can watch their favorite classics and new titles over and over again.
Why Do People Think Disney VHS Tape Value Has Increased?
There have been a few articles floating around claiming that if you own a Black Diamond Disney VHS you can stand to gain a significant amount of money for it by selling it on eBay. The Black Diamond VHS means the movies were originally released (not a re-release from the vault) between 1984 and 1994, and usually have a black diamond on the spine.
If you do a quick search on eBay for one of these Black Diamond VHS films, you will find that sellers do have prices listed for thousands of dollars, which made many people believe the hype that their VHS tapes sitting on the shelf or in a box in the attic could sell for just as much money and Disney VHS tape value has increased.
What are the Black Diamond Disney VHS Tapes?
If you want to verify on eBay yourself, try searching for one of the following Disney VHS tapes included in the collection. Black Diamond VHS Tapes include:
Robin Hood (1984 and 1991)
Pinocchio (1985, 1993)
Dumbo (1985, 1991)
Sword in the Stone (1986 and 1991)
Alice in Wonderland (1986 and 1991)
Sleeping Beauty (1986)
Lady and the Tramp (1987)
The Little Mermaid (1990)
Peter Pan (1990)
The Jungle Book (1991)
The Rescuers Down Under (1991)
101 Dalmatians (1992)
The Great Mouse Detective (1992)
The Rescuers (1992)
Beauty and the Beast (1992)
The Fox and the Hound (1994)
These 20 titles are the VHS tapes that were not taken out of the vault, but instead released on VHS after their run in the movie theater. These are often the titles folks think have the highest Disney VHS tape value.
Why Aren’t the Disney VHS Tapes Worth Money?
When the VHS tapes were released by Miller and Eisner, everyone wanted to purchase one for their homes. What if Disney suddenly decided to no longer sell the VHS tapes like Walt Disney once had the idea to do with the first animated classics?
So many households bought two of the VHS tapes, one to watch and one that was kept in shrink wrap. Purchasers didn’t touch them, hoping one day, the tapes would be worth enough to help pay for significant purchases of DVC, a rental property at the beach or contribute to their retirement.
What these “collectors” didn’t consider at the time is that there were hundreds of thousands of VHS tapes put into production, so they aren’t actually rare at all. Because these tapes aren’t rare, no matter how old they get, they will never sell for enough money to fund any of those extravagant plans that collectors had for them. So there truly is no Disney VHS tape value at this point.
Why Do People List Disney VHS Tapes at High Prices?
If these tapes aren’t worth a lot of money, then why are there people who try to sell them for an extravagant amount?
An article in 2016 was released about the Black Diamond VHS tapes being worth thousands of dollars after the writer did a quick eBay search. Not realizing that the listing price of an item and the selling price of an item are two different things, many people assumed the writer was correct.
This idea kept being spread around, even by reputable news sources. Many people looking to make a quick buck found tapes, probably at their local Goodwill store, for cheap, and decided to try and sell these VHS tapes on eBay also.
The market actually became saturated with these “rare” VHS tapes. There are currently over 6500 results for The Little Mermaid VHS on eBay. Over 6500 results mean that there really is no high Disney VHS tape value, these items are pretty common to have that high of a result search.
When information is continuously spread around, even if it is false, sellers will try to capitalize on people who believe these stories. The same idea that “everything that I read on the internet is true”… even though we all know in practice, this is not the case.
How Much Are the “Rare” VHS Tapes Worth?
If you are in the market to purchase a Disney classic VHS for your collection, whether to watch, use as a collector’s item, or just to bring nostalgia, you may be wondering how much are these VHS tapes actually worth.
To be honest, the tapes are worth as much as you are willing to pay for them. EBay sellers are able to set the listing price at the price they want, but that doesn’t mean that someone has bought the tape for that amount of money.
Most of the Disney VHS tapes on eBay are really only being sold for a few dollars, not the insane prices listed on eBay. Again, just because it is listed for the price, doesn’t mean it sells at that price. Looking at the records of the VHS tapes being listed, many of them are relisted when no one bids on them or chooses to use the buy now option.
Buyers can offer any amount to the eBay sellers. Some sellers have their VHS tapes listed at reasonable prices, the $5-$30 range, but it may take some searching with filters on eBay to get those results.
Other places to check if you are in the market to purchase a Disney VHS is your local second-hand or thrift store, like Goodwill, or yard sales in your area. My parents sold a significant portion of our Disney VHS tapes in a bundle at a yard sale in 2010 for like $100. Facebook Marketplace or other resale groups on the internet are great places to look as well.
How Do I Avoid Disney VHS Scams on eBay?
- Check the Sold Price – Use the “Sold” filter on eBay to see what other people who have purchased the item paid for it. Keep in mind that some of the results could be eBay sellers purchasing their own tape to inflate prices.
- Sealed vs. Undamaged – sealed VHS tapes are typically worth more because there is less likely to be damage to the tape itself and it hasn’t been used. However, just because the tape case is sealed, doesn’t mean the entire product isn’t damaged somewhere.
- Seller Feedback and Ratings – before purchasing an item for a higher price, make sure to check the ratings. Don’t buy from a seller that has poor ratings or reviews.
- Ask for more Pictures – if you are purchasing a VHS for a significant portion of the money, ask for more pictures to verify your purchase. If the seller is truthful about their product, they won’t have a problem sending more images.
Should I Still Save My Disney VHS Tapes?
While the majority of the VHS tapes that you have in your personal collection are going to remain important and valuable because of the nostalgia it has, there are a few exceptions to this.
Currently, in this social climate, the big VHS tape, and DVD for that matter, that we have seen selling for a lot of money is the Song of the South movie that the, now being rethemed, Splash Mountain ride is based on. Disney has pulled the sales of this movie due to the negative backlash the film received. I have seen copies of this DVD being sold for $25-$30 on my Facebook marketplace, and eBay sellers have it listed closer to the $30-$40 range. This DVD, or VHS if you have it, may be worth something a little more one day, but again I don’t believe that it is going to be enough to fund a DVC purchase or a vacation home.
There are a few VHS tapes that are also worth a little more because of special covers, like the 1984 Robin Hood Black Diamond Classic and the 1985 Pinocchio Black Diamond Classic, but even still, these tapes rarely sell for more than $50-$100.
The other true rare VHS release was Cars from 2007. This VHS tape was released only to Disney Movie Club Members and was the very last animated classic released on VHS. A typically sold price for the Cars VHS is a couple of hundred dollars.
How Do I Protect My VHS Tapes?
Unfortunately, the VHS tapes were not made for long-term storage. The tape can easily get worn out, sag, degrade, and lose quality even if it is properly taken care of. The true value really lies in the casing and how pristine the case is, which still isn’t being sold for much right now.
If you do want to keep your collection in case it is worth more one day, try to follow these guidelines:
- Rewind the VHS tape to protect the tape inside the casing.
- Clean the outside of the VHS and inside of the tape cause with a microfiber lint-free cloth.
- Store the tape upright to prevent sagging.
- Store in a dry, cool place and out of direct sunlight to keep the tape from degrading.
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