Extremely valuable VHS tapes hiding in your closet

Even though the VHS tape was phased out and replaced by the DVD starting in 1995, millions of people have still hung on to their old tapes. Perhaps we kept them out of nostalgia, or perhaps because many titles released on VHS were never produced for DVD. If you're like most of us and still have some videotapes hiding in your closet or attic, it might be time to dig them out and see if you have some hidden gems among your collection. Certain VHS releases can be extremely valuable today, with prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Let's take a look at some of the VHS tapes you should be looking for if you want to score the big bucks.

Pro wrestling tapes

That right—if you're a longtime fan of the squared circle, your old collection of VHS tapes from WCW, WWF, WWE, NWA or other wrestling federations may be worth a bundle. There are some specific titles that consistently sell for hundreds of dollars alone—like the WCW Bash at the Beach 2000 ($300-$500 on eBay), or the 1986 Great American Bash ($4,950 on eBay)—which are valuable for their content. For example, the 2000 Bash at the Beach was Hulk Hogan's final WCW appearance. Also be on the lookout for any tapes still sealed in the shrinkwrap, which ups the value considerably. A sealed copy of Wrestlemania IV sold in June 2016 for $199.99. Other sellers are finding they can make a ton of money by selling their entire collection as one large lot. If you don't have any sealed or individual "standout" tapes, you should consider this route. One eBay seller managed to parlay his collection of 171 VHS and 78 DVD wrestling titles into a cool $1,500.

Specific children's animated movies

No, we're not talking about the fabled "Black Diamond" Disney tapes. The artificially inflated prices on those, at the time of this writing, are the result of a savvy eBay seller writing a couple blogs about how "rare" the tapes were, which then got picked up by BuzzFeed, Aol, and a host of other sites. Your copy of Beauty and the Beast is not worth $30,000, no matter what you see on eBay. That being said, there are some animated children's movies that are worth quite a bit. If you have a Spanish-dubbed copy of a Winnie the Pooh movie on VHS, head on over to eBay and check out the prices. One auction for a Spanish version of Winnie the Pooh: Valentine's Day had 56 bids and sold for a massive $1,025. Another good payout can be had from your collection of Thomas the Train tapes. Collections of Thomas videos—regardless of the narrator—consistently sell for $100 to $175 on eBay.

Vintage auto racing or motorcycle tapes

If you're a fan of motorsports, or old automotive/motorcycle "video magazines," start digging through your boxes of tapes. Old VHS tapes of NASCAR or Formula One championships can go for up to $30-$50 each. One eBay seller even managed to net $110 for his collection of NASCAR races, which he'd recorded off the television himself back in 1994, and another seller got $375 for his collection of Dick Wallen midget series racing tapes. Motorcycle enthusiasts, you can turn your Easyriders or Sturgis tapes into cash. One seller traded his collection of 43 tapes for $175.

Vintage sports tapes

Sports tapes and collections can fetch big prices today, particularly if they were never produced for DVD release. If you were into "alternative" sports like skateboarding and BMX biking, these sports got huge during the '80s and '90s—the height of the VHS era. One eBay seller scored nearly $300 for a collection of only 10 skateboarding VHS tapes. Certain BMX titles can be worth $40-$50 each. If you like more traditional sports like basketball, there's money in the market for you, too—particularly for videos featuring "legendary" teams/games, like the original Dream Team, which fetches $50, or vintage videos about specific franchises (like the Dallas Cowboys), which will always have a market among fans.

Complete runs of TV series

If you have a complete run of a popular TV series on VHS, chances are it's worth quite a bit. The more tapes there are in the series, the more expensive it's likely to be today. A collection of the original Star Trek series on VHS can sell for anywhere from $80-$100 on eBay. Popular animated series can run even higher; one eBay seller recently sold their collection of Dragon Ball Z video tapes for over $200. Even titles that have been reproduced countless times on DVD or Blu-ray still can garner lots of interest from collectors who want the VHS version of the show. For example, a VHS collection of the I Love Lucy television series brought in $60. We don't know about you, but we'd rather have $60 in our pocket than 42 VHS tapes on our bookshelf.

Limited release or unrated horror movies

Okay, so this category of valuable tapes comes with some caveats. Not just any horror movie will be valuable, so hold on to that copy of Scream for now. The horror movies most likely to be worth big bucks are campy, B-grade, schlock, extreme gore and sleaze horror films that were produced in very limited release or by a foreign country. These rare entries can be worth a ton to horror collectors. Examples include 555, which consistently sells on eBay for between $200-$300, California Axe Massacre ($150), and Night Ripper ($175). A few editions of popular mass-produced horror movies also are worth quite a bit, including the original 1978 "MEDA" release of Halloween, which goes for over $200, and the Wizard Video version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ($150-$200). Various editions of Evil Dead can also command good prices, from $50 for an EMI clamshell version to MUCH more, if you have a UK "Not Guilty" sleeve version distributed by Palace Pictures. One Evil Dead collector has a standing offer of £400 for a copy of this version.

Self-improvement and training tapes

Self-help, instructional, and personal training series have been popular for decades, and that didn't change with the advent of the VHS tape. Today, self-improvement tape series can go for exorbitant amounts for a complete set. A set of Vidal Sassoon instructional tapes on haircutting recently went for $150 on eBay. Martha Stewart instructional tapes are always popular, bringing in $20-$30 each. What about those VHS tapes that teach you to be a better salesperson, real estate agent, or ninja? Yep, they can sell for up to $200. You can even learn to fly with a private pilot VHS course for $50.

Banned, recalled or discontinued films

Sometimes movies are banned by countries for content, like the list of "video nasties" that were outlawed by the British Board of Film Classification in the mid-'80s. Many of these also fall under the "schlock horror" category discussed earlier, and can fetch $100 and up. Other times, a film may be retired/discontinued by the distributor because of offensive content—a classic example of this is Disney's Song of the South, which frequently sells for $50 on eBay. Finally, sometimes VHS and DVD releases were recalled for various reasons, like an error on the sleeve artwork or a pending lawsuit. The limited copies that were sold before the recall can fetch a good price. The original VHS version of The Little Mermaid had cover art which resembled a phallus among the towers of Atlantica, and was removed in later versions. If you've got an original, it's worth around $80.