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FILM & TV

VHS lives on as collectors hunt down rare tapes

Words by Nathan Irvine

Be kind, rewind

Remember all those VHS tapes you resigned to the attic when DVD and Blu-rays rolled into town? Well, it's time to dig them out. You see, there’s a collector’s market that's been bubbling under for a while and it’s going from strength to strength.

The New York Times recently tracked down the big players in the VHS game and discovered the self-proclaimed archivists keeping the tape dream alive. And in amongst tales of hip hop artists using the medium to make music and a woman who inherited her collection from her librarian grandma, there’s talk of the increasing value of the defunct media.

For example, Kangaroo Jack - a film about a marsupial that escapes with a gangster’s $50,000 - is trading hands for around $190 (approx. AED 698).

Fishy price

The prices get even more outrageous too. There’s currently a limited edition copy of Disney classic, The Little Mermaid that’s listed on Etsy for $45,000 (approx. AED 165,000). Of course, this is just the price being asked, rather than sold for, but its an example of how sought after VHS tapes are. There are even people paying big bucks for home movies too that offer a more innocent, pre-internet glimpse of the past.

A quick search on the likes of Dubizzle reveals that VHS tapes are listed around AED 150-300. At the time of writing, there’s a pack of ten blank tapes going for AED 350.

It certainly seems like a good time to dust off any old tapes you might have lying around. Because let's be honest, it’s unlikely that you’re going to watch them now.

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