The last VCR, according to Dave Rodriguez, 33, a digital-repository librarian at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., was produced in 2016 by Funai Electric in Osaka, Japan. But the VHS tape itself may be immortal. Today, a robust marketplace exists, virtually and in real life, for this ephemera.
On Instagram, sellers tout videos for sale, like the 2003 Jerry Bruckheimer film “Kangaroo Jack,” a comedy involving a beauty salon owner — played by Jerry O’Connell — and a kangaroo. Asking price, $190. (O’Connell commented on the post from his personal account, writing, “Hold steady. Price seems fair. It is a Classic.”)
If $190 feels outrageous for a film about a kangaroo accidentally coming into money, consider the price of a limited-edition copy of the 1989 Disney film “The Little Mermaid,” which is listed on Etsy for $45,000. The cover art for this hard-to-find copy is said to contain a male anatomical part drawn into a sea castle.
There is, it turns out, much demand for these old VHS tapes, price tags notwithstanding, and despite post-2006 advancements in technology. Driving the passionate collection of this form of media is the belief that VHS offers something that other types of media cannot.
“The general perception that people can essentially order whatever movie they want from home is flat-out wrong,” said Matthew Booth, 47, the owner of Videodrome in Atlanta, which sells VHS tapes in addition to its Blu-ray and DVD rental business.
Streaming, Booth said,…