Last summer was the year of the finds for me. There’s just something about the sun that makes people want to part with their treasures. It seemed like everywhere I went people would flock to me with tapes. Then the summer passed and the tapes dried up. I was once again reduced to purchasing tapes online, with only a few turning up in charity stores and car boot sales.
At the start of this year, I had promised myself that I would slow down with my collecting, something that I had stuck to until the end of March, when an opportunity presented itself that I wasn’t about to pass up on.
This year was supposed to be the year of the cut back, the intervention required to pause my tape collecting habits. The big trim down! Sadly, as always, this was not to be…
Last year I purchased a tape called Gallery of Horror from a store in town, it was on the ultra rare UK Trytel label, a label that only a few tapes have ever surfaced on. I purchased it based on the cover art alone but little did I know that this was one-of-a-kind. A picture of the tape was uploaded to a private collectors forum and it went a little crazy after that, with offers flooding into my inbox.
I eventually, after seeking advice from other collectors, listed the tape on ebay (something I don’t like to make a habit of) and it fetched a cool £580. The sale allowed me to go back to the store and purchase a lot more tapes from the same guy, thus justifying my actions.
Anyway, over the last few weekends I have been back to the store to sort through hundreds of new titles. I’m very fortunate in the sense that this particular seller has all of his tapes in a storage facility, and only allows myself to rummage through them whenever I please, even leaving me a key to lock up once finished.
His storage habits leave a lot to be desired but rest assured, there be gold in them there compressed stacks.
At the beginning of December I was alerted to a very interesting auction on ebay. This particular auction was for a box of random VHS tapes, or as the seller so colourfully described as “LUCKY DIP A BOX OF MYSTERY VHS VIDEO TAPES, WHATS INSIDE THE BOX???”.
When two words like ‘mystery’ and ‘tapes’ are thrown together into a listing that only comprises of capital letters, well, you can imagine how fast my heart was beating.
The little VHS fairy appeared on my right shoulder telling me that the box would be filled with nothing more than Jane Fonda workout tapes, and on the left shoulder the devil himself appeared and planted the seed in my brain that maybe this seller knew nothing about rare tapes. And maybe, just maybe the box had the potential to be a Video Nasties dream haul. My mind was made. I placed my bid.
I purchased the tapes two weeks before Christmas and asked my wife if she would wrap each tape individually, that way I would have 25 mysteries as opposed to just one, and she reluctantly agreed.
After the success of the Gallery of Horror tape sale, I arranged to go back to the store to purchase some more but this time I was armed with a few hundred pounds. Unfortunately the guy still hadn’t had time to sort the entire room out but he did have considerably more on show than last time. The majority of the tapes he had were American and Japanese, with only a few British tapes among the piles. Time was not on my side so I quickly scanned the tapes and started making piles of the ones I was most interested in. After half an hour I had compiled over 40 tapes. I had to leave so many behind once again but I know I can get them whenever, as not many people know about this secret stash.
Because i’m cheeky, when the guy was away for a few brief moments I managed to take a few snaps of the US big boxes. I really would love to go back and own them all.
Some very rare titles indeed:
week I walked into a fairly obscure bookshop in town, it’s one i’ve known about for some time and even visited once before but finding it open is one thing, finding the main owner in too is another. Luckily for me on this occasion it worked out well.
For months now i’ve been trying to get the seller to let me at his private VHS collection, I know he has some rare tapes and i’ve been desperate to have a rummage. After a brief discussion about certain tapes and movies in general he lets me go upstairs to have a quick look, but warned me that I wouldn’t be able to get at much due to the room being a complete mess. Sure enough the door opened and the clutter stared back, there was no way I could get to them all, instead only managing to grab a few handfuls.
The tapes were priced at £10-15 and I only had small amount on me so I took some pictures of the piles of tapes that I could reach, and then I had to decide between a few that I had picked out that intrigued me. I decided on a rare late 70’s TV movie called Dead of Night and a very obscure title called Gallery of Horror.