A professional thrift shopper claims that a rare assortment of VHS tapes could help people pay off their debt — and now her video is going viral.
TikTok creator, thrifter and reseller Dani (@danithriftingthingss) gained more than 1.9 million views, 80,000 likes, 23,000 saves, 22,000 shares and 1,100 comments after uploading the claim to her account.
Now, much like the $1 estate sale purse that ended up being worth thousands at auction, many hopeful TikTokers are eyeing their old belongings in the hopes they’re worth a small fortune.
However, according to one collectibles expert, assessing the value of “rare” items — especially when mass-produced — isn’t always so cut and dry.
‘It’s a big collector’s item’
According to Dani, VHS tapes found “in your home or at the thrift store” could be worth “a ton” of money — enough, she claims, to help you “pay off your student loans.”
She begins the viral claim with what she calls the “Holy Grail” of finds: a 2007 tape of Pixar’s “Cars.”
“I think it was the last one Disney ever made, so there’s not a ton of it out there, so it’s a big collector’s item.”
To back up her claims, Dani refers to a past eBay listing in which the VHS sold for $5,900 after 29 bids.
She goes on to cite such tapes as a 1983 VHS of “Rocky,” a 1986 VHS of “Back to the Future,” the first three “Chucky” movies and a first print VHS of “Star Wars” — all of which sold, she claims, for thousands of dollars in “legitimate” eBay sales.
‘Why would anyone buy these?’
However, many TikTok commenters were dubious of these listings and their sales.
“But who’s buying it ? seems like there is so many and no one is buying it,” wrote @carmelaandthebeast.
“Those are bids but not sales… why would anyone buy these?” asked @rn_kgt.
To this, Dani replied, “These are all sold comps, look at the listings, it says sold and is in green.”
One TikToker claimed to have a theory about these listings — specifically the reported bids.
“44 bids, not 44 bidders, it could be the same people bidding on it. But if you click the listing, it tells you how many people are actually bidding,” commented @twinklebydaisymarie.
The act this TikToker is referring to is called shill bidding, in which sellers create multiple fake accounts and bid on their own items to artificially increase their price and desirability.
In a 2020 Reddit thread regarding the rare “Cars” VHS tape, Redditor u/SeberHusky asserted, “People are making fake auctions, buying it themselves on alternate accounts, not paying for it and letting the account get banned, and then relisting it again just to make the price seem valuable. They keep stealing each other’s auction photos which means they do not have the movie at all.”
‘I knew I saved them for a reason!’
Other TikTokers were excited by Dani’s video and remained hopeful that their VHS collection could be worth something.
“yes!!! I knew I saved them for a reason!!!!” commented @lachulabored.
“I have so many vhs and I’m so broke… please I need this,” wrote @thelittlecrystalsco.
Yet some viewers felt that, no matter how valuable their VHS tapes could be, they could never part with them.
“I’ll be buried with my Disney VHS collection,” wrote @butch7986.
“I can’t sell my vhs tapes 😭 it’s a piece of my childhood I have left,” commented @rhi.ritzy.
‘Don’t collect with the expectation that your items will pay off your college loans.’
To learn more about collectibles and their perceived value, In The Know by Yahoo spoke to Ilena Di Toro, owner of Just Movie Posters.
“Many old items, such as VHS tapes, toys and trading cards are not worth much,” says Di Toro.
“Case in point, when the PBS program Antiques Roadshow shows reruns from the early 2000s or late 1990s, they show current values of items that were featured in these shows. Sometimes the value goes up, sometimes it goes down, sometimes it stays the same. So, you need to keep your expectations in check because the items you are selling might not fetch the [big money] that you want.”
Di Toro also says it’s good to keep these points in mind when it comes to collectibles:
“When it comes to items like toys, trading cards and video games, there are millions of them out there. Since rarity drives the price of an item up, chances are you aren’t going to get six figures for your item.”
“Every so often news comes out about a doll or video game from the 1980s or 1990s being worth thousands, so you need to look further to see if that is the actual amount it sold at an either an auction or on an online marketplace, like eBay or it is just a list price for a particular item. People can put a specific dollar value on anything. That doesn’t mean that other people will buy the item at that price.”
“That doesn’t mean that people who collect these items are wasting their time. If collecting gives you joy, great. Just don’t collect with the expectation that your items will pay off your college loans.”
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