Although it may seem rather peculiar to be discussing VHS tapes in the modern age, there’s a truly fascinating and unexpected tale to be told about the infamous cover of The Little Mermaid VHS tape. The image portrayed on this particular cover, one which skyrocketed the cover into infamy, is one that is often whispered about within the Disney community.
It has also become one of the most expensive Disney VHS tapes available on the secondary market But can you guess what The Little Mermaid Banned Cover Value is worth today? Well, if not, let’s find out together.
Value of The Little Mermaid Banner Cover (TLDR)
Just how much does the banned cover for The Little Mermaid sell for today? Well, if the VHS tape is in good condition, you could receive upwards of $1,000 for it. However, if there are rips or scratches or other cosmetic damage to the VHS clamshell cover, this infamous VHS tape’s value could drop as low as $100 (or worse).
So why are people spending so much money for a banned The Little Mermaid VHS tape? Well, it’s a pretty wild story.
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Why is The Little Mermaid Cover Banned?
The Little Mermaid is most certainly a fan favorite Disney movie that has been enjoyed by folks of all ages for many years. The story of Ariel (a young mermaid who falls in love with a human and makes a deal with a sea witch to become human herself), has captured the hearts of many Disney fans both young and old for decades, in fact she is one of my favorite Disney princesses and has been since I was about the age of five!
However in 1990, a controversy erupted over a specific portion of the cover artwork for the VHS release of the movie (originally released to the public in 1989 by the Walt Disney Company). The cover in question features a seemingly innocent castle in the background, until the viewer looks closer at the rather unfortunately shaped spires of the castle itself!
There is one particular portion of the castle spire that is rather suspiciously phallic-shaped, and the image quickly gained both positive and negative attention. The castle in the image later became known amongst the Disney community as the “phallic castle” due to the oddly specific shape and surrounding decorations.
While some argue that the suspiciously phallic-shaped castle located front and center on the cover is inappropriate for children, other diehard Disney fans believe that the controversy is overblown and that the image has no real impact on the movie’s value.
In response to the controversy, Disney quickly removed the image from subsequent releases of the movie and issued a recall for all copies of the VHS tape on the market. However, the damage had already been done in this case, and the original cover rapidly became a highly sought after collectors item for Disney fans in the older generation.
Ultimately, we may never know whether the castle was specifically intended to look like a portion of the male anatomy or not, however that uncertainty absolutely does not change the current, modern-day value of the item! This particular cover has exploded in popularity over the past three decades, and financial values of the questionable cover continue to climb even 30 years later!
If you’re interested in seeing an image of the cover that more closely details the specific issue in question, this article from Snopes has given a wonderful breakdown of both the incident itself as well as an image of the cover in question!
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How is Cover Value Determined?
The modern day value of The Little Mermaid banned VHS cover is determined by several factors, including but not limited to the item’s rarity, condition, and demand among collectors. This particular phallic shaped variation of the cover is incredibly rare, primarily due to the fact that it was only in circulation for a short time before being recalled (the cover was in circulation for less than a year).
It is widely unknown how many copies of the cover remain in circulation as well as in good condition, but it’s safe to say the ratio of supply and demand among collectors is quite slim!
Additionally, upon hearing the original announcement of the recall that was made in 1990, many parents either threw away the inappropriate cover or returned it to Disney, which removed even more copies from circulation and further reduced availability fern already extremely limited item.
On top of that, as the years go on, the cover continues to age, and fewer and fewer high-quality copies remain in circulation, which is continually driving the price even higher!
As many Disney collectors and fans are familiar with, the release of The Little Mermaid on VHS (and the subsequent banned title) were known as a part of the Black Diamond collection of tapes! The Disney VHS tapes known as “Black Diamonds” are a variety of beloved animated films released from 1984 to 1994.
The name “Black Diamond” was derived from the diamond-shaped emblem on the spine of the VHS cases, and these tapes were highly coveted. Part of the reason they’re heavily desired is because were only produced for a limited time (and hailed from the golden era of Disney animation).
As a result, these VHS tapes became cherished collectibles for fans of all ages. Since the banned cover happens to be a part of one of the most coveted collections in the entirety of VHS releases, they are naturally worth quite a pretty penny to many collectors!
Disney Black Diamond VHS Cover Value Warning
With that said, be careful when it comes to buying Disney Black Diamond VHS tapes. A lot of the tapes you see online have overinflated prices because it’s believed that some sellers try to manipulate the market into believing that these tapes are worth far more money than they are.
So be wise and don’t sink a ton of money into a Disney movie on VHS thinking you’re making a sound investment that’s akin to Apple stock or Microsoft stock or even or Tesla stock. Because if you do, you might end up sorely disappointed.
The overall condition of the cover also plays a significant role in determining its overall resale value and whether or not the item will even sell in the first place. A VHS cover that is in excellent condition with no evidence of tears, scratches, or other damage will fetch a significantly higher price than one that is in poor condition or which has not been properly taken care of.
The best way to fetch the highest price for the cover would be to house the item in its original packaging to ensure quality, although with a cover as old as this one it would be extremely rare to find within the original packaging. As with any rare or otherwise unique item, most collectors are willing to pay a much higher premium for a cover that is in pristine condition and which has a higher resale value.
Finally, the current demand among collectors is another crucial factor in determining the ever changing value of the cover. The more collectors that are interested in acquiring the cover at any given time, the higher the price will inevitably become. Supply and demand has a huge impact on just about any item, and “antiques” such as this certainly are no different!
The value of the cover can also fluctuate depending on other factors, such as the release of a new Disney film or the popularity of The Little Mermaid franchise. With an upcoming film scheduled to release in May of this year, we can expect that the phallic-shaped cover value for the original film will rise in price around the same time as the theatrical release.
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What is the Banned Little Mermaid Cover Worth?
At the time that this article was written, the cover value for this particular VHS tape could range quite significantly. When I went to eBay to check out sold auctions and sorted them by lowest price sold to highest price sold, the results were dramatic.
Some banned The Little Mermaid covers on VHS went for as little as $1.00 However some went for hundreds of dollars, and some even for thousands of dollars, with one auction ending with a price of almost $4,500.00. The seller claimed the tape was in immaculate condition and even included a proof of purchase inside the VHS clamshell.
Where to Buy or Sell the Banned Little Mermaid Cover?
eBay seems to have the widest variety of pricing and quality, so if you are looking to buy or sell a copy for your own collection, I would highly recommend visiting this platform first! It is important to note that the quality of the item is not guaranteed, so you will want to take great care to ensure that you thoroughly read all descriptions and return policies before you purchase the cover!
Typically, a high-quality copy of the cover that’s in perfectly mint condition will go for around $500 to about $1,000 (USD). It is possible, in rare circumstances, to see the cover exceed $4,000 or even $5,000, although this is far more rare and these covers are in the best of shape with the original packaging intact.
It is worth mentioning, however, that there are outliers within any item and the prices that you see are not always guaranteed if you were to switch platforms or even wait a week to purchase your cover!
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Should You Keep Old Disney VHS Tapes?
Yes and no—this answer is a bit complex and requires a detailed answer. First, let me explain why your Disney collection of VHS tapes might not be worth as much as you think. First, a lot of Disney collectors like to hold onto their Black Diamond Disney VHS tape collections. It’s called “Black Diamond” because the VHS cover has a black diamond shaped logo on it, usually in one of the cover’s corners.
These Disney “Black Diamond” VHS covers were old school clamshell cases back in the day. Most came in white, but some came in black padded clamshell cases, too. Anyway, there’s a big perception that these cases collectively hold a massive amount of value on the secondary market.
And sure, there have been occasionally some VHS tapes of Disney movies that have gone for thousands of dollars on eBay. But, do keep in mind that there are just as many that have gone for just ten or twenty dollars on eBay, as well. My guess is that the perceived high value of these tapes is two pronged.
On one end, there may be the occasional, very rare VHS Disney tape that also is in great condition. However, I think it’s just as likely that some eBay sellers are pulling shenanigans with their auctions and intentionally over inflating their prices using underhanded tactics in an effort to make their for sale collections appear more valuable than they really are.
Still, on the other hand, there are many reasons why you should keep your Disney VHS tapes, and there’s definitely far more to it than saving them to sell 30 years down the line. These tapes hold a piece of history and nostalgia that can’t be replicated in modern technology, and Disney fans who appreciate holding a piece of history in their own hands should definitely consider keeping any VHS tape collections!
These seemingly small and ancient items double as physical artifacts that offer insight into the past as well as a connection to our memories and experiences. I still have a very vivid memories of pulling out our old VHS player and laying on the floor with my family watching Disney movies all day long!
Outside of the Disney company, collectible VHS tapes are a legendary piece of pop culture history. They were the dominant form of home video entertainment for decades and played a crucial role in shaping popular culture even in schools and universities. Many of the classic movies and TV shows that we loved as children and young adults were released for the first time on VHS, and these tapes offer a unique window into the past.
This is especially true for young children who may have never seen a VHS tape before! They remind us of the cultural milestones that defined the era, from the rise of blockbuster movies to the emergence of groundbreaking TV shows.
Another major reason to hang onto your VHS tapes is that these tapes can, in some instances be valuable collector’s items. They are becoming increasingly rare as time goes on, with nearly every classic movie and TV show no longer being produced on VHS.
This rarity makes them a valuable commodity among collectors, with some tapes fetching high prices both on auction sites and in thrift stores or other markets. If you have a rare or valuable VHS tape in your collection, it could be worth holding onto for financial investment purposes or to pass down to future generations.
While digital technology has made it easier to access movies and TV shows, it has also made it easier to lose them. We all know the struggle and the horrible feeling when hard drives fail, streaming services lose licensing agreements, and DVD copies that you may have lying around get stolen or borrowed by friends, never to be seen again.
By keeping a sizable and healthy collection of VHS tapes in your own personal collection, you are not only preserving a piece of history that may otherwise be lost, But also making sure that you have a copy for yourself! One of the best parts about VHS tapes is that they don’t require Internet to view, which is wonderful for those unfortunate times when you find yourself without a stable Internet connection and bored out of your mind!
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