Written by: Matt Singer –
Date: August 19, 2019 –
The future, supposedly, is streaming. Between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Criterion, Shudder, Tubi, and many more with HBO Max, Disney+, and Apple TV+ all on the way every day it gets easier to watch a wide array of movies and TV shows at home.
But even with all those choices, there are many movies and television shows throughout the history of media that are not available for streaming anywhere (at least not legally). Some of those movies and shows are available on home video — or at least they were at some point. And when those discs went out of print, they became pretty valuable.
Curiosity about the state of the collectible home video market in the age of streaming led me down a deep eBay rabbit hole recently, at which point I spent hours tracking recent completed auctions for collectible Blu-rays and DVDs. Despite our streaming future, people are still paying hundreds of dollars — and, in some cases, upwards of four figures, for rare box sets and discs. Here are 15 examples that went for top dollar on eBay just in the last few months. Do you own any of them? If so, you’ve got a valuable item on your hands.
MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge Vol. 4 & 5
Remember this mid-2000s Spike TV series that took clips from Japanese game show Takeshi’s Castle and overdubbed snarky English language commentary? Well, clearly someone does, and they were willing to pay a boatload for this DVD collecting a bunch of episodes. This DVD recently went for $197.95 on eBay. The picture of the DVD attached to the eBay listing has the original price sticker on it: $30.
The Killer, Criterion Collection DVD
John Woo’s The Killer was one of the very first Criterion Collection DVDs; it’s Spine #8. But the disc quickly fell out of print. While you can buy a Blu-ray of the film on Amazon right now for less than $10, if you want the Criterion DVD, it’ll cost you. The last time one sold on eBay, it went for $199.99.
The History of Beavis and Butt-Head
In 2002, MTV made a DVD called The History of Beavis and Butt-Head. With that title, it sounds like a definitive collection — but it was actually a bunch of cherry picked episodes chosen completely without show creator Mike Judge’s input. Even worse, Judge had “absolute approval rights” over any Beavis and Butt-Head home video releases, which he then used to have the set canceled. Before he could, though, a few copies snuck out into the wild, which is why they are now collectibles. One recently sold on eBay for $225.
Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box
The gurus at Arrow Video have released many highly coveted box sets through the years. This limited edition “Scarlet Box” from 2016 included the first three Hellraiser films, a slew of extras, and an exclusive 200-page book. It retailed for $124.95 but now can fetch upwards of $230 online.
The Complete Sartana
Speaking of Arrow: Their recent box set compiling the films in the Sartana series — a spaghetti Western about a cowboy shrouded in mystery and fond of gadgets — was limited to just 2500 copies. They were first made available at $100 a pop. This summer, one sold on eBay for $243.95.
This crowdfunded cult short was only released on Blu-ray as a reward for people who donated to the film’s Kickstarter. Those Blu-rays now fetch a heavy price on eBay. Someone paid $249.95 for a disc recently. Kung Fury’s only about 30 minutes long, which means whoever this is was paying about $8 every minute to watch it.
The Vincent Price Collection Vol. 1
Shout! Factory has several collections of Vincent Price horror films on Blu-ray, but the first Volume has gone out of print — and is now highly sought after by collectors. Someone recently paid $280 for Vol. 1 and 2. (If you’re curious, the set includes The Pit & the Pendulum, The Masque of the Red Death, The Haunted Palace, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, and Witchfinder General.)
Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection
A common theme among very collectible DVDs and Blu-rays: Dedicated fanbases who feel compelled to own the best version of their favorite movies — or sometimes multiple versions. This Friday the 13th set, which has sold online for $279.99 includes all the films in the franchise, plus an exclusive book, and a Camp Crystal Lake patch. Plus: Several of these movies are pretty good!
Halloween: The Complete Collection
There have been a bunch of Halloween Blu-ray and DVD box sets through the years, but the most desirable among collectors is this massive 15-disc set which includes tons of new extras across many of the films, and a book. Going rate on eBay: Just under $300. And some folks are asking more for their copies.
The Real Ghostbusters: Complete Collection
How much would you pay for 25 discs of Ghostbusters cartoons? Someone paid $350 not that long ago. In their defense, it does come in this very handsome box that looks like the team’s firehouse.
Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One Briefcase Box Set
Who needs a firehouse when you have a Tesseract and briefcase? Not surprising, this limited edition box set of Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that comes in a recreation of one of the films’ more famous props remains a pricy item among home video enthusiasts. If you want one, expect to pay upwards of $350.
The Third Man, Criterion Blu-ray
You can watch Carol Reed’s The Third Man right now on the Criterion Channel, or even on Netflix. But if you want to watch it on Criterion Blu-ray, don’t expect to do it for cheap. The discs routinely sell for hundreds of dollars. (A sealed copy recently sold for $384.94. But hey, free shipping!)
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Complete Collection
Arrow Video’s most highly coveted set might be this limited edition from 2015 that collects Kinji Fukasaku’s five-film yakuza series with exclusive extras like a 224-minute compilation cut of the first four movies that’s super rare. How rare? Try $489 rare.
Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Set
The “Dragon Box” sets of Dragon Ball Z are the crème de la crème, as far as DBZ fans are concerned. A complete set of all seven sets recently went for (no we’re not making this up) $800 on eBay. And complete collections routinely go for upwards of $500.
The Monkees: The Complete Series
Originally priced at $199.98, this box set, limited to 10,000 copies, included all 58 episodes of The Monkees, the Monkees’ movie Head, and an exclusive disc of extras including rare screen tests, outtakes, and Monkees guest appearances on other TV shows. Someone was asking $1200 for their set on eBay, then accepted a “Best Offer.” So we don’t know what the final price was, but we do know that for whatever this person paid, you could practically buy the last train to Clarksville.