02/04/2020 at 4:31 pm #73673IndySalesParticipant
Today I acquired over 80 betamax tapes that someone obsessively recorded movies on over a number of years. The most interesting part is that they created little title cards as a makeshift cover – usually MOVIE TITLE – Actor 1, Actor 2, Director, Summary. Not pleased with just that, they also mirrored the same information on the spine of the tape. Interesting use of time if you ask me.
Checking solds, I see lots 12 betamax tapes in similar condition went on auction for $212, $190, $30, and $10 (different lots from the same seller.) Apparently the higher dollar ones had footage of the Olympics and some kind of beauty pageant while the lower end was just pre-recorded tapes with little info. All claim to have commercials, yet the seller claims to have not viewed them personally. Interesting.
The challenging part is finding out how to go about listing these. I have a way to play every format of media except Betamax, so I’m using a trick I seeing a lot of sellers using: selling them as blanks. This cuts out Media Mail as an option but allows them to be sold without testing.
Right now I’m pricing lots at $5/tape and have $0.64 in each tape. I can’t stand long tail items, so this will be an interesting experience to say the least.
Will update as things develop.0
02/04/2020 at 4:58 pm #73674JayKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
I wonder if the value is not the betamax format, but what’s actually recorded. I know there are stock footage companies that snatch up historical photos and footage to digitize and resell.0
02/04/2020 at 5:53 pm #73676IndySalesParticipant
I have a feeling it could go either way at this point. Given the relative obscurity of betamax, my last resort will be dumping these all in a pile and selling them as blanks instead of trying to work the “Maybe there’s something on these!” angle by making individual lots.
My experience with pre-recorded media is limited to a lot of MiniDV tapes I found from someone who was hired out to video weddings. A “lo-fi noise” band bought them.
It’s likely I’ll be sitting on these a while now that I’ve gone through a chunk of them and still have no idea if they’re straight copies from VHS or recorded TV broadcasts, but my hunch in the former, as one of the tapes is an unrated copy of a movie from the 80s that never came out on betamax and probably wouldn’t have aired on TV. There were also some adult movies sprinkled about that are obvious transfers from another format.
I’m going to give them a week and see what the views/watchers look like. If there’s no sign of life, I’m going to slash prices and try to move them ASAP.0
02/04/2020 at 7:32 pm #73683RyanneKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
we’re video nerds, so i would buy a betamax player just to see what was on them.0
02/04/2020 at 7:34 pm #73684buytikiselltikiParticipant
Remember that the beta format was used by professional news organizations, for many years after it had lost traction in the consumer world. It was a great format, high quality and great early sound recording.
I’ve sold some sealed blanks in the past couple of years, but hit or miss. It is weird how people sometimes need blank media.
I do have a box of 10 L750s that I used to record all of the Monkees episodes when they first aired on MTV in the mid 80s.
Never watched em!0
02/07/2020 at 6:12 am #73756debitendcreditsParticipant
- Location: Albuquerque, NM
I sell used consumer VHS and Beta tapes all the time. I call them blanks to avoid setting off VERO sensors, but honestly, I don’t think studios care that much if you are selling copies of stuff taped off ABC in the ’80s. Having said that, I would never put in the title “Disney’s Lion King and Disney Channel recordings 1990’s” or “6 hours of Full House”.
People love to scour old tapes for the stuff that isn’t common. They like looking for commercials, local news broadcasts, and morning shows. It’s a treasure hunt. If you have a group of tapes, take photos that include the writing on the spine (and don’t transcribe in the description). The video scavengers will look at the detail in the pictures. I would put in the title description where the tapes came from as some people are very interested in specific local stations (i.e. “Lot of VHS tapes record in ’80s from the Chicago area).
Selling as “blanks” protects you from claiming you know what is on the tapes. I have never had anyone complain. Most buyers understand the randomness, and they are purchasing for the thrill of the hunt.
I always send the tapes media mail. I have never had a problem. If the post office opens to inspect – they will find a pile of prerecorded media and send on it back on its way.1+
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