How Much Are Your Vintage Disney VHS Tapes Really Worth?

in Movies & TV

Person sitting on the floor while wearing pajamas and holding 5 VHS movie tapes including Bambi, The Prince of Egypt, Cinderella, The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley, and You're Invited to Mary-Kate & Ashley's House

Photo Credit: TK MARIAN LADIONA, Flickr

Remember those cherished days of your ’80s and ’90s childhood when true magic was encapsulated in Disney VHS tapes? If you’re a nostalgia enthusiast and you’ve wondered if your seemingly forgotten VHS tapes hold any monetary value, we’ve got you covered. 

Loved and adored by millions, it’s no secret that the Disney franchise has a loyal fanbase. Over the years, Disney has kept supplies of their movies lower than many studios using the “Disney Vault” (we’ll describe this in more detail below). So, does this mean that there is a profitable demand for VHS Disney movies in modern times? 

Generally speaking, an old VHS tape is probably worth less than $1. However, VHS videotapes that are in good condition may be sold for around $25-$50. Classic or vintage, it’s unlikely to sell your VHS tapes for thousands of dollars, as some scammers would have you believe. But if you have a few vintage Disney VHS tapes, you may be in luck. Vintage and antique tapes may earn you a smooth $150 or more!

To determine which videotape will sell for a few dollars and which one might sell more, we need to give a little deeper. Some savvy collectors have been listing their vintage “Black Diamond” Collection Disney tapes on eBay for thousands of dollars, but as our research has shown, no one is really buying them for such a big price tag. If you have some of these vintage Disney VHS movies from the 80s and 90s, what are your VHS tapes actually worth today?

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To identify which VHS tapes are worth money and which aren’t we analyzed listing prices and the amount they sold for on eBay, along with reviewing outside research into this question.

What is the “Black Diamond collection” of Disney VHS tapes?

The Black Diamond Collection is a highly sought-after series of VHS tapes released between 1984 and 1994 by Walt Disney Studios. These tapes were part of the Walt Disney Classics series and feature the iconic diamond-shaped “The Classics” logo on the upper spine of each clamshell case.

Some of the beloved Disney movies included in this collection are Dumbo, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and many 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.

The Black Diamond Edition of these movies is often attributed to their higher value among collectors. This makes sense, as these were the initial releases of these films on home video. However, it’s important to note that this alone does not justify the exorbitant prices these movies can command.

Evidence of this can be seen in online listings, such as one from August 10, 2020, where a single Beauty and the Beast VHS tape was listed for a staggering $1.28 million!

Disney Black Diamond tapes on ebay

Another listing from June 19, 2019, showcased a collection of 68 VHS tapes selling for $1.5 million, with the top individual tape, Aladdin, priced at $600,000.

ebay $1.5 million Disney vhs tapes listing

While the Black Diamond Collection holds a special place in the hearts of Disney fans and collectors, it’s crucial to approach these listings with skepticism. The high prices seen in online auctions may be inflated and not necessarily reflective of their actual market value.

Factors such as condition, rarity, and demand also play significant roles in determining the worth of these tapes. It’s essential for collectors to thoroughly research and assess the value of their Black Diamond tapes before making any purchasing or selling decisions.

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Overall, the Black Diamond Collection represents a nostalgic era in Disney’s cinematic history and holds appeal for both avid Disney fans and collectors. However, it’s important to approach the valuation of these tapes with caution and conduct thorough research to ensure a fair and reasonable transaction.

Can Selling Walt Disney VHS Tapes Make Me Rich?

The idea that owners of Disney VHS tapes could be sitting on a small fortune is not entirely accurate, as research and reports indicate that the prices these tapes are actually selling for are much lower than the inflated list prices. While some old Disney VHS tapes have fetched high purchase prices, such as the Black Diamond Editions, these instances are relatively rare.

Inside the Magic’s own research found that out of nearly 2,500 sold listings of Disney classic VHS tapes, the highest price observed was $5,000, with only three instances where a single tape sold for over $1,000. There were another five listings that sold between $100 and $1,000, while the majority of sales were for less than $100, including some tapes that sold for less than the cost of shipping.Disney VHS tapes for sale on online auction site, eBay, listed from $7.00 for a Disney VHS Collection to $15,999.99 for a ‘RARE’ Beauty and The Beast VHS Tape

Despite the popularity of certain Disney VHS tapes and the attempts by sellers to find buyers willing to pay high prices, the reality is that the value of these tapes is not as substantial as some may believe. The high asking prices often do not align with the actual sale prices, as indicated by the sold listings on eBay.

Therefore, while there may be a few rare cases where owners of specific Disney VHS tapes could potentially make a decent profit, the overall value of these tapes is not as significant as portrayed. It is important for potential buyers and sellers to be aware of the actual market prices and not be swayed solely by the inflated list prices that are often seen.

Are Rare VHS Tapes Worth Money?

Reviewing the sold listings, we can’t help but notice the prevalence of Beauty and the Beast among the ranks of high-priced Disney tapes. Perhaps we should conclude that Beauty and the Beast, in particular, is amongst the valuable VHS tapes.

But that is not the only rare Disney VHS tape you will hear mentioned. Often 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, they have inherently become more valuable

As the name implies, these tapes came first, and then after being put back into the Disney Vault (if you’re not familiar with the Disney Vault, learn more below), they were subsequently re-released as the Black Diamond Edition as described above.

Stack of Disney VHS tapes

Our research reveals 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 a nearby thrift store, flea market, pawn shop, or garage sale for only a few dollars.

So if you want to enhance your collection of vintage Disney VHS tapes and pick up a copy of Sleeping Beauty or Dumbo, it pays to do your research.

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Similar to the research conducted by Inside the Magic, Snopes found that in 2016, it appears 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. As P.T. Barnum famously said, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” which seems to be an apt description for buyers who spend thousands on an old tape.

So, selling your vintage VHS Disney movies 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 won’t hurt to try.

What is the Disney Vault?

Some readers have asked, but what about the Disney Vault? Didn’t that increase the value of each Disney tape? On the surface, it is logical to assume that the “Disney Vault” might be relevant to the discussion of general Disney VHS tape value.

The Disney Vault is the term used to describe the practice of only making its 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 Collection, 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.

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Where can I find vintage Disney VHS tapes?

Disney fans and collectors alike are always on the lookout for vintage Disney VHS tapes, particularly those rare Black Diamond Editions. While many people may be able to uncover hidden treasures in their own attics or stumble upon them at garage sales, there is another avenue for finding these beloved classics – online sites and second hand stores like Goodwill.

Goodwill is a great resource for Disney enthusiasts who are desperately in search of a particular Disney VHS tape that they just can’t seem to find anywhere else. With a quick search, individuals may come across listings for Black Diamond Edition tapes, as well as other vintage Disney VHS tapes that may not be classified as Black Diamond Editions on the website.

As of now, there are six listings for Black Diamond Edition VHS tapes on Goodwill, showcasing the enduring appeal of these classic films. Additionally, there are many more vintage Disney VHS tapes available, offering fans the opportunity to relive their favorite Disney moments from the comfort of their own homes. These tapes often feature beloved titles such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Fox and the Hound, and Bambi – provided as a convenient 4-pack for only $17.99.

Disney Black Diamond Edition VHS Tapes for sale at Goodwill, listed at $17.99 and including the VHS tapes Alladin, Beauty and the Beast, The Fox and the Hound, and Bambi

In today’s digital age, where streaming services like Disney+ offer a vast library of Disney content, the nostalgia of owning physical copies of these films is still highly valued by collectors. As Disney CEO Bob Iger once stated, “Don’t underestimate the value of nostalgia. It pays off.” This sentiment is evident in the continued popularity of these vintage Disney VHS tapes.

The future of Disney film distribution lies in streaming services like Disney+ and the acquisition of 21st Century Fox has only expanded their content offerings. With the launch of Disney’s own streaming platform, fans can now access a wide range of Disney movies, TV shows, and original content. However, there will always be a special place for the original products that started it all – the classic animated films that brought characters like The Little Mermaid, Jungle Book, and Peter Pan into our hearts.

To scroll through currently available Disney Black Diamond VHS tapes on eBay, click here, and for the latest listings of Disney Black Diamond VHS tapes at Goodwill, click here.

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