Back to the Future VHS Tape Sells for Staggering $75,000

A sealed VHS copy of Back to the Future was auctioned last week. For a price of $750,000, it is most likely the most expensive videocassette to change hands at auction. Several people probably wish they had a flux capacitor right about now. For a frame of reference, according to Screen Rant, back in 1986, a VHS of Back to the Future would have cost $79.95.

Of course, this particular copy had been given away for free. The VHS was previously owned by actor Tom Wilson beforehand. Wilson, of course, played Biff Tanned and several of his relatives in all three movies in the trilogy. In addition to the movie, the new owner also received a note written by Wilson, according to The Guardian, it went as follows:


“This is a VHS tape of the first release of Back to the Future, sent to me by the studio at that time. 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!”

Wilson wrote notes to accompany the other tapes he donated as well. They included sealed, graded copies of Back to the Future II, which sold for $16,250, Back to the Future III ($13,750), and a box set of the trilogy ($10,000), which also included the documentary Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy.

The Auction Solely Consists of VHS Tapes

The Texas-based Heritage Auction held the auction. It was notable the first auction that was dedicated solely to VHS tapes, which have grown increasingly popular among collectors in recent years. Partly due to nostalgia, but also because finding popular films in their original shrink wrapping is near-impossible.

“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. A few years ago, sealed VHS collectors were outliers in the collecting community, so it really is something to see it grow and attract enough new collectors to warrant a standalone auction at a major auction house. Based on everything I’ve seen today, VHS and home media have a bright future, and Heritage is just getting started,” said VHS Consignment Director Jay Carlson.

The event featured a total of 260 sealed VHS tapes and drew 598 bidders worldwide. Most of the tapes were first-edition copies of classic, beloved films from the ’70s and ’80s. Besides Back to the Future, there was also The Goonies ($50,000), Jaws ($32,500), and Ghostbusters ($23,750). The grand total at the end was $584,750.

“The success of this inaugural auction shows, again, the power these movies and this format hold over audiences young and old. 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,” said Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Joe Maddalena, who previously told Nexstar he was expecting the auction to generate at least a half-million dollars.