With apologies to Marilyn Monroe, the beautiful icon who starred in Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend back in 1953, this edition of Collector’s Corner isn’t focused on the sparkling stones found in rings, necklaces, tiaras, and other types of jewelry. No, we’re talking here about VHS tapes.
I know what you’re thinking. Who watches videotapes in a world dominated by streaming and, to a lesser extent, DVD’s? Hold on to your hats. According to Gallup, 58% of Americans still own a VHS player, or about 200 million Americans. That’s what I call demand. Add in worldwide use of VHS players, particularly in the Third World, and the VHS tape-viewing market is multiple billions, with a “b.”
I’m sure you’re also wondering why so many watch VHS in the face of streaming. A bevy of studies show that many viewers are not happy with sound and visual quality of streaming. And DVD’s? Read on.
Disney’s Black Diamond Collection of VHS tapes is clearly marked with a black diamond on the tape’s spine and back cover, with the words, “The Collection.” The tape also features The Walt Disney Company logos and wordmark. Many versions of Black Diamond tapes feature foil tags which refer to the last-ever issue of the tape by The Walt Disney Company.
So which Disney animated classics are part of the Black Diamond Collection? Through the years, various sources have pegged Black Diamond as featuring anywhere from eighteen to twenty-five tapes. Our exhaustive research pegs the actual number as nineteen classic features, listed below.
- Robin Hood
- Sword in the Stone
- Alice In Wonderland
- Sleeping Beauty
- Lady and the Tramp
- The Little Mermaid
- Peter Pan
- The Jungle Book
- The Rescuers Down Under
- 101 Dalmatians
- The Great Mouse Detective
- The Rescuers
- Beauty and the Beast
- The Fox and the Hound
To this day, the total number of tapes released by Disney for individual features and the collection, in general, have remained a mystery. But from the beginning, Disney touted that each release in the series was limited and would never again be issued. If you’re thinking that Disney then released the animated classics on DVD, you’re right. But that series of DVD’s, dubbed “Deluxe Edition,” ended in 2015. The supply of Disney animation, on video or DVD, is most definitely finite. It’s unlikely that Disney will ever break its promise of never again releasing these classics, as that would seriously harm Disney’s credibility and goodwill.
Let’s cut to the chase. Are Disney Black Diamond Collection tapes valuable? You bet. Despite scuttlebutt on the internet scoffing about and openly mocking the claim that Black Diamond tapes have sold for more than $40,000, they absolutely have. That’s a documented fact. Now, that doesn’t mean that every sealed, unopened, original Black Diamond tape is worth more than $40,000. Not at all. But these tapes are very valuable.
The reasons why Disney Black Diamond Collection VHS tapes are so valuable are:
- They were issued by Disney, and there are more than one hundred million Disney collectors around the world.
- Most tapes were opened and played when purchased in the 1980’s and ‘90’s. Finding a sealed, unopened copy is exceedingly rare.
- There is great uncertainty, a mythology, if you will, over how many Black Diamond tapes were produced and sold. We’ve already discussed the worldwide demand for Disney collectibles. But the supply of Black Diamond tapes, especially sealed, original copies is uncertain, driving price appreciation.
- The nineteen movies in the Black Diamond Collection really are classics, not run-of-the-mill animated movies. It’s doubtful that any future generation will fail to cry and laugh while watching Bambi, or delight in Fantasia’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The late Walt Disney was a genius, and Black Diamond is part of his rich legacy.
You may not want to collect Disney Black Diamond tapes, because of their cost or the potshots taken at buyers online. That’s certainly your right, and fellow collectors should respect your wishes. But if you collect Disney, multi-media or pop culture, Black Diamond is a winner.
The Bottom Line
Disney’s Black Diamond Collection is very collectible. That’s why TDF Collectibles has built a solid inventory of these sealed, never opened tapes. We plan to feature several tapes each month in the coming years, including 101 Dalmatians, which many claim is the rarest tape in the Black Diamond Collection, until the inventory is exhausted. Don’t know about you, but we’ll never tire of Cruella de Vil in Dalmatians or Cogsworth and Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast.