After reporting that a VHS copy of The Terminator sold for over $30,000, we dug just how much rare and discontinued physical media are selling for.

In a streaming world where titles can come and go, physical media remains a crucial way for us to own and keep the movies we love. But how far would you go to get your hands on something that’s rare or out of print? We recently reported that an old (but undamaged) VHS copy of The Terminator sold for over $30,000. The strip was a first printed edition, which is why the price was quite high. In response to this landmark sale, we did some research to see what other rare and discontinued physical media are selling for online. You might be a little shocked.

Picture: eBay

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) – limited edition DVD with metal case and activity book

I know star wars fans can be extremely passionate, but the price of this one seems a bit high. At eBaythe asking price for this limited edition DVD of The Clone Wars the animated film is £654,550.07. The film serves as a prequel to the seven-season television show which, in this star wars in the humble opinion of a fan, is at least ten times better than this movie. Still, the one on sale here has a metal case imbued with a limited edition number, and has an activity book inside. I doubt anyone would seriously consider buying it, but it’s worth pointing out that regular DVDs and Blu-rays from Star Wars: The Clone Wars is still readily available on Amazon at a much lower price.

by Disney The little Mermaid (1989) – Black Diamond VHS with original cover

You may have heard the story of The little MermaidForbidden cover art, where one of the castle towers in the background resembles a certain part of the male anatomy. This was quickly noticed and changed in 1990, meaning there are few original copies of the cover in circulation. These original ‘black diamond’ VHS tapes are being sold online for thousands of pounds. The name comes from the black diamond symbol at the top of the spine. This one on Etsy goes for £30,691.32. Of course, the original film is far from exhausted, so the appeal of this one is purely the childish laughs you might have as you show the cover to your friends.

The little Mermaid

Image: Etsy

Other Disney Black Diamond VHS Tapes – The beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aladdin (1992)

While not all original Disney VHS tapes are of equal value, there are a few others that are quite popular with online sellers. Value of most ads The beauty and the Beast at around £750-£1000, however this list asks for £4,305.50.

1992 Aladdin is of roughly the same value (around £1000), but most listings are (understandably) out of their original packaging. In the case of this vhs it’s still in its shrink wrap, the asking price is an incredible £7,312.14. I’m just surprised anyone has bought a Disney movie and never watched it.

20th Century Fox Complete Studio Classics Collection with Travel Case (DVD)

This is a collection of 70 classic 20th Century Fox movies on DVD, complete with a fun travel case to store them in. The set features an eclectic mix of films from the studio’s catalog, including Gentlemen prefer blondes, Fly, and The mark of Zorro. It sells eBay for £899.99. Now that Disney has purchased 20th Century Fox and owns its catalog, collections like this have become even more sought after.

20th Century Fox DVD Collection

Picture: eBay

diabolical death (1981) – Filmways Home Video VHS

While your average VHS diabolical death is perfectly affordable, we found a rare copy with the name “Filmways Home Video” on the cover. It seems normal enough, except that the Filmways label was only active in 1988-1989. It was owned by Orion Home Video, which stopped using the Filmways name on its VHS tapes after only a year. The film itself may not be rare, but this VHS specific is definitely. The seller is asking £883.29.

DW Griffith Masterworks Collection – 7 Disc DVD Box Set

Many classic films are still readily available on physical media – take most of Alfred Hitchcock’s filmography or films starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. DW Griffith is another influential figure in movie history, but his movies are a little harder to find on DVD. At £111.34, this box of some of his early work is not as expensive as other products on this list – I suspect the inclusion of the notorious A birth of a nation may be what lowers the value. Other films in the set include broken flowers and Intolerance.

Of these rarer items, some listings are asking way too much for standard movie editions (some aren’t even out of print). If you look you’ll see someone selling Jim Carrey Yes man for £1000. But the number of expensive and rare items on online sales platforms, and the sale of the first VHS edition of The Terminator, is just going to show the lengths some people will go to get their hands on things that aren’t widely available anymore. As supermarkets begin to close their physical media aisles and places for titles on streaming services are tenuous at best, we better hope the physical media industry itself continues to grow…


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