The most desirable VHS tapes currently are factory sealed copies of popular films released on VHS between 1977 and 1990. The VHS release year is typically located on the bottom rear in small print. Look for the latest year listed (example below).
The biggest titles that collectors are looking for include, but certainly are not limited to: Jaws, Goonies, Halloween, Rocky, Friday the 13th, First Blood, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters, Star Wars, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Terminator and The Karate Kid. The ones that tend to be the most sought after are VHS tapes of popular movies from 1977-1986.
One of the easiest ways to spot tapes of value is to look for early VHS company logos. Over time these logos would change or were phased out altogether. But factory sealed tapes with the logos below are among the most collectable, especially if they are popular titles.
Earliest VHS Logos
Slightly Later (But Still Early) VHS Logos:
Tapes that are far less sought after and much less desirable are VHS tapes produced from 1992-2002. These are the vast majority of factory sealed VHS tapes that are still floating around. There were far more tapes released during this period, making them much more common and less desirable.
Disney animated movies, even sealed ones, are not very sought after or desirable and do not hold much value. There are many copies of these tapes still around. Seven of the top ten most produced VHS titles are Disney animated movies. Disney accounts for the top three: Lion King (32M copies), Aladdin (30M copies) and Snow White (28M copies). The only non-Disney titles on the list are Titanic, Jurassic Park and Independence Day. Only the earliest of Disney VHS produced prior to 1985 hold any value to most collectors.
Ultimately the main things to look for are:
- Is the tape still sealed?
- Does it have one of the logos above?
- Is the latest year listed on the back prior to 1986?
If the VHS tape has all three attributes, you may have located a valuable VHS tape. The more popular the title, the more desirable it likely is.