The Disney "Black Diamond" Beauty and the Beast VHS Hoax

Written by 112 Video on 06/26/16

So recently, I’ve been bombarded with messages about these “Black Diamond” Disney VHS cassettes. In fact, a handful of the messages were people trying to sell them to me! It reminded me quite a bit about the Halloween (1978) VHS that sold for allegedly $13,000 on eBay back in 2013. It was one of the very first (but not the first) videos of Halloween released from Meda (Media) Home Entertainment in the late 70’s. The video is certainly a rarity and a gem to serious VHS Collectors, but could it really be worth that much?

There’s a few things that people don’t seem to understand about eBay. Just because you see an item sold for x amount of dollars does not mean that anyone actually paid that much. Why would anyone in their right mind pay $13,000 for a cassette that had never broke $1000 on the market? This reveals a serious flaw in the way eBay displays sold items. It never accounts for whether or not the winner/buyer actually paid the winning amount. So then comes this question: Why would anyone bid a high price on an item they don’t plan to pay for? This is where shill bidding enters the picture. Sometimes a seller will use shill bidding to up the price of an item. This means having multiple eBay accounts and bidding on your own listings to garner interest. The Halloween cassette is an incredible success story of this. The story went viral, reinforcing the myth that this video is actually worth that much.

Now this brings me back to these “Black Diamond” Disney cassettes. This is the same situation as the Halloween VHS cassette except even more absurd. The Halloween tape, although not worth $13,000, is quite rare. However, these Black Diamond Disney cassettes are so incredibly common that I can’t imagine this hoax lasting very long. So what happened? Is this shill bidding or just some incredibly bored prankster trolling eBay? The difference between the Halloween situation and this one is that there are many listings of these “Black Diamond” Beauty and the Beast cassettes that had “sold” for many thousands of dollars. So what’s going on? One theory suggested people were snatching up these original releases in fear that the studio would someday alter the film. But still, this does not justify the astronomical value we see these listed for on eBay. My theory is that the first several listings that “sold” for thousands were the result of shill bidding. When folks around the country read the stories of how much the Beauty and the Beast cassettes were selling for, they ran to their closets for their own copies and created 5-figure  “Buy It Now” listings thinking they can cash-in on the phenomena (they totally fell for it). Then comes along an eBay troll or multiple trolls (they do exist), and they “buy” all of the high-priced Disney cassettes to perpetuate the myth that they’re actually worth something. Circumstantial evidence for these videos not actually selling for these high figures are all the Black Diamond cassettes that did sell at reasonable prices. So you have to ask yourself: If someone can buy a “Black Diamond” for less than (let’s be generous) $50 bucks, why would someone buy one for $15,000? Another clue: Four of the 5-figure cassettes "sold" on the same day, June 8th. Suspicious, don’t ya think?

No folks, your old Disney tapes are not worth anything

...except a few bucks at the local thrift shop or if you do actually have a rare one from the very early days of home video. Disney pumped out these "Black Diamond" cassettes on such a massive scale that I can’t imagine anyone believing that these videos would be worth anything, yet so many did (or continue to). Eventually (I hope), eBay will fix the flaw in how they display sold listings and all of these hoaxes will end.

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neonnights's picture
neonnights 8 months 3 days ago

Yes, i agree that Ebay shilling is a big problem for the collector's market and that many people over the years have complained about it. I've been on Ebay since 1997 and they're many bad people on Ebay doing many nefarious things. Although most Disney VHS tapes are worth only $0 to $20 there are a few expensive ones like the early 80's blue case rental store tapes and a few movies that were released only as a promo VHS.

HeartBreakKid's picture
HeartBreakKid 8 months 2 days ago

Yes. This has been incredibly frustrating because eBay, Craigslist, OfferUp and everything else I use to hunt VHS tapes is flooded with Disney tapes at inflated prices.

I don't blame them, though. I've been watching this as well and it's hard to say for sure that every one has been orchestrated from the same guy. Perhaps, someone who has no idea what's going on and deep pockets, did throw out an absurd amount of money because they didn't know any better. It's worth a shot.

There's a few things I wanted to add to this. First, anything at and over the price of $10,000 the seller cannot require immediate payment for a BUY IT NOW. Like the OP said - even though it shows sold it doesn't mean money was exchanged. Second, eBay doesn't do much to punish buyers that back out of transactions. A seller can block non-paying offenders, but most don't even know that's an option and with there being dozens if not hundreds, a buyer can just make a new name and commit to buy the tape at $18,000 and back out. You may notice that in all of these transactions no feedback is given by the seller. And just to remind you on eBay the seller can only leave positive feedback and the only positive result would be the seller being paid, right? Lastly, if someone offers a BEST OFFER they also don't have to pay immediately because the price must be accepted first. On the website it will show only "best offer accepted" but on the eBay app - it shows sold at the original listing.

I don't know the true intent of why someone chose to spend so much time and inflate the price of this tape when we all know it's only worth a couple of bucks, but he did successfully breathe life into the tapes. Now is a good time to sell because people are paying $5, $10, $15 for Black Diamond tapes and also buying lots at good prices. This is important because you can find them everywhere - my thrift stores have tons of them for just pocket change.

ElijahTheMovieFanatic's picture
ElijahTheMovieF... 8 months 2 days ago

Damn money laundering dickweeds!

JSpartan1989's picture
JSpartan1989 8 months 1 day ago

Now I'm probably one of the few, if not the only one, who doesn't mind most Disney tapes, even if there are too much of them everywhere, but this however? That's another story. Different book, too.

CassetteHead's picture
CassetteHead 7 months 4 weeks ago

Ah men brother. I've had to school several people about how bogus this recent story is.

VegasBabyVegas's picture
VegasBabyVegas 1 month 1 day ago

I have a dozen or friends that fell for this hoax and locally (las vegas) Craigslist has people listing their Bambi Black Diamond for $10K. Lol. If they only looked at the "completed" auctions instead of current ones. I get a chuckle when people really believe this hoax.