How to Make Money Selling VHS Tapes on Amazon and eBay
How to Make Money Selling VHS Tapes Online
Here's a bunch of information that really belongs in a book (hmmm, maybe some day.) I grew up in the '90s, and I remember that we always watched VHS tapes when I was a kid. Most people laugh at the thought of buying or selling them and would sooner throw them away than check to see if they are worth anything. If there is one thing I have learned as a picker, it is that every single type of item has value in some way, and there is always a "Holy Grail" of that category.
Just as there are DVDs that I have sold for over $120 (like Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book DVD), there are VHS tapes that I have sold for over $85. Here's a quick tip for you: Real quick, go see if you can find yourself a copy of The Adventures Of Dudley the Dragon: Dudley's Tea Party. I bet you would be surprised at the price you would have to pay for it! This is just one quick example of the profit that can be found in VHS tapes.
Everywhere I go, I can pick up VHS tapes for $1 or less, even new. I have sold the Dudley VHS in the past for over $70 in rough shape. If you buy something for $1 and sell it for $70, that is a 7000% return on investment. That's not bad at all!
Are You an Aspiring Picker?
I know it will probably anger a lot of pickers that I am writing this article, but I don't mind sharing because, to be completely honest, there are a lot of VHS tapes, and "Joe Shmoe" is not going to find the good ones. Only a serious picker is going to find them—and perhaps you are, or will become, that serious picker. If that is the case, then good for you! Either way, if you are meant to be one, then you were meant to be one before I wrote this article!
What to Look for in a VHS Tape
The best type of VHS tapes to look for are obviously new, sealed tapes. I would be very careful to make sure that they are sealed because sometimes a VHS tape will be sealed by someone else other than the factory! If you sell one like this that you thought was new, you can get in a lot of trouble, and it is a very tough position to defend yourself from! I would be careful when trying to buy new sealed VHS tapes on eBay because there are so many amateur sellers who don't even realize this problem.
How Do You Determine a Tape's Value?
Just because a VHS is factory sealed new, it does not make it worth a lot automatically. Most VHS tapes are completely worthless even in new condition. Very few VHS will be worth anything at all, and it is tough to tell which are good without a scanner.
The first thing you should do is use the iBookSeller app, which is available for both iOS and Android users. I use iBookSeller because it gives accurate, up to date prices and sales rank. Almost all VHS tapes are slow sellers, no matter where or how you sell them.
Examples of Tapes That Sell Well
- Most children's VHS tapes sell very quickly and can be sold for around $4–$6 each plus shipping if they are in good condition and $8–$10 for good ones if they are new.
- The best kind of VHS tapes to sell are old, out of production ones. Anything old that is not available on DVD will most likely be worth something.
- Surprisingly, a lot of work out tapes are worth something, especially if new. I have once sold a Jane Fonda VHS tape used for $15.
- Other good sellers for VHS are strange ones that talk about conspiracy theories and documentaries. Non Fiction is more likely to be a desirable VHS but I would say this is much less likely the case than it is with books. Most non fiction books are worthless.
Basically what it comes down to is, if it is unavailable or very expensive on DVD, people will buy it on VHS.
Inspecting the Tape
VHS tapes are very reliable and much more durable than DVDs, but they should be tested before you sell them to ensure that they work. I do a physical inspection of each VHS I sell. I describe the box and the VHS carefully. I look for discoloration of the ribbon of the tape and damage to the VHS. It is important to note any imperfections and to avoid those that have them in the first place. Having and maintaining top notch feedback is essential and means that your items will sell faster, and for more money.
I usually ship my VHS tapes first class mail with B-flute cardboard wrapping protection around them. I find that shipping them first class mail is much safer and pleases customers much more and that it is worth the extra 40 cents or so more than media mail. I always ship expensive items first class mail or priority mail and I used signature confirmation on items over or around $100. I would not ship expensive items media mail because the USPS is very rough on media mail.
VHS tapes are great for selling online because they are very easy to store and they are not as heavy as books for the same space. I am fairly certain that if you want anything near market value for VHS tapes, you absolutely must sell them online. VHS usually have dust sleeves or clam shell cases, and it is much easier to come across a VHS that is in working order than a DVD because so many DVDs are scratched horribly. I do not buy VHS which are missing their sleeve or clam shell unless they are worth a lot because it is like a bomb waiting to explode. I store my VHS that I have for sale as shown in the picture. I picked up these shelves at Walmart reasonably cheap and they do the trick.
Where to Sell
I prefer to sell my VHS on Amazon because I feel that there is more traffic, but VHS do sell well on Ebay as well. It's up to you, but I would always recommend selling new VHS on Amazon and I would suggest marking it up very high because it will sell. You will always get paid much higher prices on Amazon than on Ebay. Of course telling you this suggests that there are opportunities for Ebay arbitrage. It's a rough market out there and Ebay arbitrage can be a very dangerous game to play. More on this another time!
Do You Sell VHS Online?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.