Reversible Sleeves

This is something that I have been meaning to discuss for quite some time now…

As a VHS lover, I love nothing more than to rummage through the odd charity shop and car boot sale looking for classic VHS tapes in their original boxes.
After each weekly haul I would have a good sort through and clean up my purchases, and every once in a while I would come across a tape (mostly ex-rental) that had an alternative cover on the reverse. To non-VHS loving people out there, this would be the equivalent of finding a crisp £50 note inside your weekly payslip.

Medusa were probably the biggest players in this reversible market, but other labels such as Guild  and CBS/FOX were also in on the act. I must own a hundred or so with double sided sleeves.

Alternative VHS Covers


I love the fact that distributors were concerned about their release reaching the target audience, so they slapped a totally different print on the back of the cover, just in case it wasn’t renting well enough. A lovely thing.

I would like to know if this strange phenomena happened on US or European releases. On my recent visit to the States, it seemed to be a common thing that all tapes were lovingly wrapped in cartons, with only a select few given a safe bedding of a plastic clamshell. None had reversible sleeves.

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2 thoughts on “Reversible Sleeves

  1. Gundolf

    In Germany we too had some companies who released VHS-Tapes with reversible Covers. I also have a french VHS-Cover which features a different picture on each side. But I never saw that on american VHS-Tapes. Most american VHS-Tapes have this cardboard-covers. In the 1990s there used to be some american Video-stores here, and of course I was there often. VHS- Tapes with a Plastic-Cover (like we are used to it in Europe) were a rare exception. I guess the reason for that, must be lower productions-costs for the cardbox-covers.

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  2. Jay Fresh

    Yep -standard here in the UK. I believe it was used more for the rental owner to decide what his typical audience would go for. The Mosquito Coast one in the UK highlighted this – hilarious contrast (see if you can track that down).

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