Tag Archives: Collectables

The collectables marketplace

For most of my life I’ve collected things.  Not “hoarder” level, mind you, as I really dislike clutter, but things that I like I tend to buy and, if I really like them, I will hold on to them to hopefully enjoy them again later on.

When I was much younger, I bought and held on to comic books (still do, to some degree).  For a very brief while I also got into stamp and coin collecting (I still have a jar nearly completely full of old coins.  To this day, whenever I stumble upon an older coin, I stick it in the jar).

I’m not alone in this.  My parents at one time had a very extensive betamax collection of movies and, when the VHS format killed it, we switched to and bought quite a few movies that way.

My sister, in particular, really got into buying Disney films when they were first released in that format in the 1990’s.  I suspect she still has a closet in her house with the movies.

I point this out because of this amusing article by Matt Novak and presented on paleofuture:

Why Do People Want Thousands of Dollars For Disney VHS Tapes on Ebay?

The upshot of this article is that somehow a rumor spread that those old VHS tapes, the same ones my sister bought back in the day, were suddenly worth many thousands of dollars.  Some of the people who believe these rumors have therefore posted their Disney VHS tapes on eBay and are asking sometimes outrageous amounts of money.

We’re talking $10,000 plus.

You read that right: Ten thousand dollars plus.  Here’s a screenshot presented by BobbiBrown, on of the people offering comments on the article:

If any of them get that kind of money, good for them and (read it in a Trump affect) very sad for the buyer.

I’ve seen this kind of insanity (how else describe it?) before, where people think something is worth far, far more than it is.

The fact of the matter is the collectible market lives on supply and demand.  In the comic book market, the reason Superman’s first appearance in Action Comics #1 is worth nearly a million dollars is because a) Superman is a cultural icon and this is indeed his first appearance in any medium and b) there exist very few -perhaps no more than ten- “mint” copies of Action Comics #1 out there.

But the VHS Disney films?

First off, the VHS tapes sold very well back then and I suspect there are many, many people like my sister who bought and then stored those films away, thinking they were “collectable.”  This is as opposed to Action Comics #1 which while many people bought individual copies way back in the 1930’s (some individual comics did sell in the millions), there was no sense of their having a collectable nature and therefore huge quantities were read and thrown away and, over all these years, very few “mint” copies of them remain.

Further, while you can still “use” a mint copy of Action Comics #1 (you can read it, should you own it), the VHS market is dead.  Further to that, today you can get most of those Disney films either on DVD, BluRay, or digitally, should you wish.  All these presentations are far, far better than what you would see on a VHS tape.  So it begs the question: Why in the world would you want to own an inferior image of a Disney movie via a VHS copy of the same?

In the above linked article, the author makes the same point and several comments below the article note that VHS copies of these films are available for pennies at garage sales or in thrift shops.

The point of all this is: Beware the collectable marketplace.  Just because you have something that is of value to you doesn’t mean it has an equal monetary value in the “real” world.

There’s a reason many things are worth high amounts of money but, again, this relates to their rarity and desirability, both of which are just not the case with regard to the Disney VHS tapes.