Sealed VHS tape of blockbuster film sells for $75,000 at auction

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(NEXSTAR) — We were all such fools to actually open and watch our VHS tapes back in the ‘80s.

A sealed copy of “Back to the Future” on VHS sold for $75,000 at the first-ever VHS-only auction last week, becoming what is likely the most expensive videocassette to change hands at auction.

A sealed copy of “Back to the Future” once owned by one of the film’s actor’s set a record-setting price at auction. (Heritage Auctions)

The VHS event, organized by Texas-based Heritage Auctions, featured a total of 260 sealed VHS tapes, most of which were classic, first-edition copies of beloved films from the ‘70s and ‘80s. The record-setting copy of “Back to the Future,” however, featured another rare distinction: It was previously owned by Tom Wilson, the actor who portrayed Biff Tannen in the “Back to the Future” trilogy.

In addition to the “Back to the Future,” bidders were also eager to get their hands on near-mint VHS copies of “The Goonies,” one of which sold for $50,000. A sealed copy of “Jaws,” meanwhile, sold for $32,500, while a copy of “Ghostbusters” went for $23,750.

Other coveted titles included a promotional copy of “First Blood,” “Star Wars,” and a promotional copy of “Top Gun.”

Joe Maddalena, the executive vice president of Heritage Auctions, previously told Nexstar that he expected the auction to generate at least a half-million dollars. The total for Heritage’s first-ever VHS auction exceeded this goal, netting $584,750.

“The success of this inaugural auction shows, again, the power these movies and this format hold over audiences young and old,” Maddalena said in a press release. “This is a new area of collecting, and it’s clear there’s a deep love for what we’re offering. We can’t wait for the next VHS auction.”

It’s worth noting that each item on the auction block was factory-sealed in original packaging, and had been authenticated and graded by a verified grading service. Maddalena previously told Nexstar that buyers were mostly interested in first-editions too, but that doesn’t mean less-pedigreed versions of VHS tapes won’t be of interest in coming years, especially if interest persists and slightly less-perfect specimens become more popular among collectors.

“We’re just not at that stage of the hobby yet,” Maddalena said. “You really need the auction market to come along … to find out where it’s at.”



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