If you’re a Disney fan who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, you likely have a stack of Disney VHS tapes collecting dust somewhere. Naturally, this begs the question – are any of these VHS tapes worth money? Some savvy collectors have been listing their vintage “Black Diamond” Collection Disney tapes on eBay for thousands of dollars, but is anyone really buying them for such a big price tag? If you have some of these vintage VHS movies from the 80s and 90s what are your Disney VHS tapes worth today?
What is the “Black Diamond edition” of Disney VHS tapes?
The Black Diamond edition refers to the diamond-shaped ‘The Classics’ logo on the upper spine of each Disney VHS clamshell case. Disney movies in the Black Diamond Collection were released between 1984 and 1994 and include titles like Dumbo, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and more. Starting with Robin Hood in December 1984 a total of 20 movies bear the Black Diamond label as part of the Walt Disney Classics series until the line was discontinued in March 1994 with The Fox and the Hound.
Most often it’s the Black Diamond Edition of the movie that is thought to result in higher values among these classic Disney movies. Logically this makes sense given these were the first releases of these movies on home video, but as we will show that doesn’t justify the sky-high valuation given to these movies. You can see evidence of this persistent claim in this 8/10/20 listing showing a single Beauty and the Beast video on sale for 1.28 Million!
Or you can look back at this 6/19/19 listing showing a collection of 68 VHS tapes selling for $1.5 Million! Additionally, the top individual tape is Aladdin going for $600,000.
Is it possible that owners of these tapes could be sitting on a small fortune? According to our own research and the fact-checking website Snopes, the answer is no, not really. Even though no one is paying these inflated prices for these VHS tapes it hasn’t stopped sellers from trying to find a buyer and unload their collection for big bucks. But a simple search on eBay showing sold listings indicates sale prices that are a fraction of list price.
Other Rare Disney VHS tapes?
Among the so-called rare Disney VHS tapes, you will find copies of The Little Mermaid with its accidentally controversial cover art for an asking price of hundreds or thousands of dollars. Sellers typically describe this Little Mermaid VHS as “rare” and “banned,” but as you can see when scrolling through the listings, there are many copies currently available on the auction site.
Another claim is the so-called Disney first edition VHS tapes. The theory behind these first edition VHS tapes is that since they are no longer in production that inherently makes them more valuable. As the name implies these tapes came first and then after being put back into the Disney vault (not familiar with the Disney vault see below) they were subsequently re-released as the Black Diamond Edition as described above.
As Snopes revealed through a bit of digging, most of these classic Disney VHS tapes are worth $25 based on the average bid earned on eBay and other online auction websites — not even close to the hefty $1,000+ price sellers are seeking. This price point is consistent among Black Diamond Edition VHS tapes, “controversial cover art” VHS tapes AND Disney first edition VHS tapes.
However, the tapes can sell for a decent amount if the movie is harder to find and both the tape and VHS case are in excellent condition. If the VHS case is sealed, even better. Online buyers are advised to be aware that these same so-called collector’s items can often be found for sale at nearby flea markets or a garage sale for only a few . So if you want to enhance your collection of vintage Disney videotapes and pick up a copy of or it pays to do your research.
In 2016, it does appear that one copy of Beauty and the Beast sold for $9,000, but Snopes warns that it was almost certainly a fluke. In reality, you can expect bids in the $5 – $25 range. So, selling your vintage Disney VHS tapes probably won’t earn you a big payday, but if you’re looking for a way to declutter your home and make Marie Kondo happy it can’t hurt to try.
What is the Disney Vault?
Another term that comes up often in the discussion of Disney VHS tape value is the “Disney Vault.” The Disney Vault is the term used to describe the practice of only making it home video cassette releases available for a limited time and then pulling the video from store shelves and putting it into the “vault”.
For your typical Disney film, there would have been its initial theatrical release by Walt Disney Studios (followed by its return to the Disney Vault) followed by the home video release by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. Both Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment have their own “Disney Vault” in which the movie is pulled after its initial release. Then as is the case with the Disney Black Diamond Edition the movies are eventually re-released when they are pulled from the Disney vault and sold with a new case and bonus features.
Because of the popularity of these movies and parents’ and grandparents’ desire to share these movies with their children both born and yet unborn many of these home videos were sold during each release cycle limiting their ability to increase in value. Today the Disney Vault no longer exists thanks to Disney+, the streaming service that is now home to all of these classic Disney movies on demand.
Where can I find vintage Disney VHS tapes?
There are numerous places to find vintage Disney VHS tapes including stored away in your attic or a garage sale. But if you’re still missing that Disney VHS tape that you must add to your collection look online at Goodwill. At the time of the publication of this article, we found 2 listings for Black Diamond Edition VHS tapes along with many other vintage Disney VHS tapes that weren’t categorized as Black Diamond Edition on the website. The top listing for $8.95 is a 4 pack of tapes which includes the classic titles Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, plus 101 Dalmatians.