Collectors Corner: DVDs and Blu-rays
By Michele Alice
Given the relatively long success of VHS, the sheer amount of material produced in that format, and the fact that it is now considered an obsolete medium, it's not difficult to imagine that many tapes are now considered collectible. But DVDs and Blu-rays?
Introduced first in Japan in 1995 and the US in 1997, the DVD (digital versatile disc) quickly supplanted VHS sales in the States as prices of equipment plummeted and more and more consumers eagerly made the switch from tape to the superior visual quality of disc.
In addition to the crisper, cleaner video, discs possessed a much longer data shelf life than tapes and provided the interactive features that had been so popular in the much more expensive LaserDisc format. Though a couple of small releases (Eragon, Cars) occurred in 2007, the last major movie release on VHS was The History of Violence in 2006, just ten years ago.
Interestingly, just ten years ago, Blu-ray was introduced to the world. Named for the blue/violet laser used to read the discs (DVDs used red), the Blu-ray format offered higher resolution and greater capacity than the DVD it was supposed to supplant. Luckily for consumers, many of whom had amassed huge DVD libraries, the new Blu-ray players were able to handle both types of discs, and DVDs remain a large part of the video market to this day.
Unsurprisingly, the collectibles markets for both disc formats are similar. Packaging plays a large part with editions in metal cases, aka steelbooks (SteelBook and MetalPak are two brands), or those with special graphics or materials included often commanding higher prices than regular-issue discs. One of the most famous of these is the Iron Man steelbook issued by Canadian retailer Future Shop. Though prices for this particular Blu-ray have fallen somewhat, it can still cost $180.27 (after 45 bids at a recent online auction) to add to your collection.
On the genre side, early and rare releases of martial arts and Japanese anime films are extremely popular with collectors, especially when complete with original cases and inserts in like-new or mint condition. Recently, bidders fought online over an original DVD copy of Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers Studios 1969 film, Temptress of a Thousand Faces. The winner, after 48 bids, paid $1625!
Finally, there are the odd issues that for one reason or another find their way to collectors' wish lists. One such is the 1998 Warner Bros release of Little Shop of Horrors. Included among the special features was a black-and-white version of the original ending to the movie, in which the stars are eaten by a plant. Within a week the DVD was recalled at the insistence of producer David Geffen who had planned on issuing his own version of the ending at a later date. Copies that had made it into fans' homes were soon commanding $200+ on the secondary markets. Prices have since dropped considerably, but the disc is still a cult favorite.
Of course, auctions are not the only source for video discs. Thrift shops, especially, often have surprisingly extensive libraries of unwanted DVDs and Blu-rays just waiting to be culled for unrecognized gems. And don't forget to check out the VHS tapes while there!
Interested in finding out more about this popular collectible? Check out the resources listed below, and
Case Types (My Movies Wiki) - Presents examples of different types of cases.
Collectibles and Limited Editions (Blu-ray Forum) - The place to go to find out what's out there.
The DVD Recalled After a Week That's Now a Collectors' Item (Mental Floss UK) - We'll just let you guess.
The Rarest DVDs and Blu-rays You Might Own (Mental Floss UK) - Prices are not up-to-date, but list is still valid.
Media Wrapped in Metal (SteelBook) - Check out the Archive and New Releases sections.
Turn Your Collectible DVDs into Cash (IGN) - Prices are dated, but nice discussion overall on what to look out for.
About the author:
Michele Alice is EcommerceBytes Update Contributing Editor. Michele is a freelance writer in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. She collects books, science fiction memorabilia and more! Email her at makalice @ adelphia.net eBay ID: Malice9
You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to EcommerceBytes.com and either link to the original article or to www.EcommerceBytes.com.
All other use is prohibited.