December 6, 2023

One person’s analog trash is another person’s vintage treasure.

If you have a pile of VHS tapes that haven’t been touched since the dawn of digital media, you might be able to make a fortune on them.

Blockbuster video cassettes are obviously a relic of yesteryear, with technology moving from VHS to DVDs and Blu-Ray and now onto streaming — but they’re still popular among some cult cinema collectors.

Many are going for a shocking amount of money on eBay, including classic films such as “Back to the Future” and even newer flicks with a cult following, such as the original “Fast and the Furious.”

However, simply posting a VHS on eBay doesn’t guarantee you’ll get big bucks — the condition must be top-notch.

VHS tapes degrade 10% to 20% over 10 to 25 years, and some footage could be skewed with age, according to the pros at Kodak. Tapes have a short lifespan due to remanence decay of the magnetic charge, which leads to discoloration, blacked-out scenes and eventually complete loss of footage.

Other conditions that speed up degrading of VHS tapes include storing in hot or humid conditions, storing them near magnetic sources, cheap or low quality tape, excessive rewinds and playbacks on the tape, and the tape is a second- or third-generation recording copy.

Kodak recommends storing VHS tapes in a cool and dry place “with little to no climate change” in order to keep them in the best possible shape — though even in the best conditions, they will eventually deteriorate.

That means your over-watched bright orange VHS of “The Rugrats Movie” might not be the one that gives you a pay day. However, some titles are up for auction with starting bids in the thousands.

It’s unclear how many of these mint-copy tapes have actually sold for big bucks but online shoppers are certainly bidding on and buying them. In fact, many of the sellers have “100% positive feedback” rankings.

The Post has reached out to eBay for comment about this rising retro-trend.

Meanwhile, after perusing the “aisles” on eBay, here are some of the most expensive listings for film titles on VHS as of Thursday.

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