It's a Hoax: Disney Black Diamond eBay Prices are Bogus

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Just about everywhere you go, people have heard about Disney Black Diamond VHS tapes being worth thousands of dollars on eBay. Unfortunately, it isn't true. Let's put this rumor to rest. Any completed listings with sale prices in the thousands are a hoax. This rumor started back in May of 2016 when Tech Times erroneously reported that sale prices were in the thousands for one VHS tape. The problem is that the author of the article made some observations about the VHS tapes on eBay, but he doesn't understand how eBay works.


Asking Price on eBay is Not the Selling Price

Rumors and urban myths get started when journalists don't do their homework. eBay can be loosely compared to the real estate market. Anyone can put a $1 million price on their home and put a for sale sign in the yard, but that doesn't mean a buyer will pay the asking price. The way to determine a realistic selling price on eBay, or what the market will bear, is the same as in real estate - look at completed sales. Look at historical data that shows what a buyer has paid in the past. (Known as comps in real estate.)  Active listings don't show what a buyer will pay, only what a seller is asking. These are two very different things. Now, let's dissect the article that started this wild rumor and separate fact from fiction. 

Errors in the Tech Times Article that Started the Rumor

The article, published on May 28, 2016, was titled, "You May Have Hit The Jackpot If You Still Own This Disney Movie On VHS." The author stated:

"According to eBay listings, the 1992 animated film Beauty and the Beast is going for just under $10,000. It's not because the live-action reboot, starring Emma Watson, is coming out next year. This VHS is selling for so much because it is rare."

The listings the author referred to were active listings, not completed or sold listings.

So, these listings with thousand dollar price tags were not actually sold. To avoid confusion, and unnecessary hype, the author should have specified that in his article - that these VHS tapes have not been sold. Again, any eBay seller can put any price on an item that he wishes. But active listings are not the same as sold listings where a buyer actually purchased an item. 

The article also stated:

"The versions of Beauty and the Beast that are listed for $5K and up are those that are part of the rare 'Black Diamond Collection.' This collection features 18 animated features from 1988 to about 1993 that were first released for VHS. These editions come in a clamshell case and have a logo in the shape of a black diamond that says 'The Classics' on its spine."

The truth is, Black Diamond videos are not rare. As of June 26, 2017, There are over 12,000 active listings for Disney Black Diamond VHS listed on eBay. The sell through rate for Disney Black Diamond VHS tapes on eBay is only 16%. In other words, 84% of the tapes don't sell. 

Furthermore, when there is over 12,000 of something on eBay, the item is not rare.

Next, the Tech Times article states:

"The Black Diamond Collection version of The Little Mermaid is going for over $8,000, and The Lion King for more than $4,000, but Aladdin is less in demand with the max of making $500, whereas Dumbo will only get you $100."

Again, incorrect. These items are priced in the thousands but not selling for thousands. The Tech Times article is very misleading and has caused hype about something that is just not true. Snopes, the Urban Legends Reference page, called out the Tech Times article as bogus and incorrect on June 2, 1026

Common eBay Scams

Let's refer to the facts. There are a few completed listings for prices in the thousands, but those are not legitimate listings. There are several reasons for these astronomical prices:

  • Money laundering. It is a common practice on eBay. Someone selling contraband or illegal items will put up a listing on eBay, instruct the buyer to purchase it there, and their illegal transaction can happen undetected. Money is transferred, and the authorities are none the wiser.
  • Buyer never pays. Only the seller knows if the buyer pays. A buyer with no intention of paying may fool around with a listing and bid it up to an astronomical price just for fun. It is also common on eBay - non paying bidders

    Actual Selling Prices of Disney Black Diamond VHS

    So, what can you expect when selling a VHS tape from the Disney Black Diamond Collection? The going rate based on actual sales is as high as $150 for some titles, but the average is $50. Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Cinderella are the actual BOLOs.

    Here is a list of all 18 tapes in the Disney Black Diamond collection, and the highest price of sold listings of each individually over the last 30 days, before the hype started.. The "outliers" with unrealistic prices are not included in this list as they were sold after the Tech Times article and payment for the items cannot be verified. 

    1. Dumbo $49
    2. Bambi $24.99
    3. Cinderella $102.50
    4. Alice in Wonderland $39.99
    5. Peter Pan $39.95
    6. Lady and the Tramp $59.99
    7. Sleeping Beauty $59
    8. 101 Dalmatians $55
    9. Sword and the Stone $29
    10. Jungle Book $31
    11. Robin Hood $45
    12. The Rescuers $28
    13. Fox and the Hound $35
    14. Great Mouse Detective $20
    15. The Little Mermaid $100 (rare and offensive cover art)
    16. Rescuers Down Under $30
    17. Beauty and the Beast $147
    18. Aladdin $200

    As a seasoned eBay seller since 2003 with over 30,000 items sold worldwide, when I see prices on eBay skyrocket for no reason other than misinformation on the internet, the conclusion is that these sales are an anomaly. Something is not right if the sale price cannot be tied to facts. The moral of the story, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do your own research when hearing or reading rumors of an item selling for unrealistic prices. Always check completed listings for the facts. 


    Updated by Suzanne Wells on June 25, 2017.