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VHS tape of ‘Back to the Future’ fetches $75,000 at auction

June 23, 2022, 2:45 PM UTC

Never doubt the value of nostalgia.

A sealed VHS copy of Back to the Future sold for $75,000 Wednesday, setting a new record for a videotape price tag.

The tape, which previously belonged to actor Tom Wilson, who played bully Biff Tannen in the films, was part of a catalog of VHS tapes sold at a Heritage Auctions event. All totaled, collectors shelled out more than $580,000 on 260 tapes. (A copy of Jaws went for $32,500; Ghostbusters sold for $23,750; and a Top Gun giveaway fetched $17,500.)

“This is a VHS tape of the first release of Back to the Future, sent to me by the studio at that time,” wrote Wilson in a note that accompanied the tape. “Since I knew that the VHS platform would be around forever, I saved it for later and now I can’t find a VCR. Oh well, enjoy!”

Sealed copies of Back the Future II and Back to the Future III, respectively, went for $16,250 and $13,750.

“VHS collectors have never gone away, but interest in sealed VHS has blossomed in a way few could have imagined over the last couple of years,” said VHS consignment director Jay Carlson in a press release. “A few years ago, sealed VHS collectors were outliers in the collecting community.”

Prior to the sale of the Back to the Future tape, the highest price paid for a VHS ape was $57,600 for a copy of 1977’s Star Wars.

VHS tapes are seeing a surge of interest among collectors, but to be clear, that copy of St. Elmo’s Fire you watched time and again that’s now gathering dust on a shelf likely isn’t worth much. Collectors are focused on sealed first editions or early release copies.

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