Are you the proud owner of grandma’s dusty old 8-track tape collection, and need to know how to price these 8-track tapes for resale? Perhaps I can help. I have been a vintage tape collector since the days when Kmart carried the 8-track tapes new over on isle 5, and I have been a full-service vintage 8-track tape dealer for many years.
Lesson One: Stop! Do Not Play.
The very first thing that you need to know about your old 8-track tape collection is that you can not just toss the tapes into an 8-track player to see if they work or not. Bad 8-track tape pads or bad 8-track tape splicing foil on your old tapes will result in your tape tying itself into tight little knots inside of your tape player. You risk hurting your player, and you will destroy your 8-track tapes.
Find The Good 8-Track Tapes:
To find out if your 8-track tapes are still good or not, start by doing a visual inspection:
Inspection Step One: Put all of your 8-track tapes into a box with the tape parts facing up. Look through this 8-track tape pile and take the tapes out that have a spring bar showing under the tape part of the cartridge. The 8-track tape spring bar will look like a flattened ‘V’ with little square black pads on each leg. Put these fuzzy pad tapes into a pile and we will get back to them in step four below.
Inspection Step Two: The rest of the 8-track tapes in your box should be foam pad tapes. With a clean first finger, push the center of the tape part down as far as it will go (gently) on each of these 8-track tapes. Any tape with a foam pad that did not spring right back up into shape after you have pushed on it, that 8-track tape can not be played before it is repaired with a new pad. Put this pile of repair tapes aside in another place, and we will price these repair tapes as they are below.
Inspection Step Three: The 8-track tapes that have foam pads that spring back up quickly when you push them down are the 8-track tapes that may still work. Put these 8-track tapes into a pile for pricing.
Inspection Step Four: Look at your pile of 8-track tapes with the spring bars from step one above. Put all of the 8-track tapes that have two black fuzzy pads on the spring bar into your pricing pile.
Your 8-track tapes should now be separated into two piles. Tapes that are still maybe in playable shape and those that will need pad repairs before they will play.
Pricing Repair Tapes:
8-track tapes that need new pads are still desirable to some collectors. Pad repairs are not hard to do after a little practice, and many collectors know how to make their own tape repairs. In your ad explain the true pad condition. Tapes needing pads sell in the price range of .25 (Big Band & Readers Digest Collections) up to about 3.00 (Desirable Rock) each. Country Western genre is pretty solid at about 2.00 each.
Auction prices for some 8-track tapes will sometimes go higher if more than one person is interested in the same tape.
Pricing Good Tapes:
While pricing your working 8-track tapes, tell people that the pads appear to be firm if they are, and also tell them that the 8-track tape has not been tested. This informs the buyer that you have not checked this tape in a machine to see if the splicing foil is still holding or not.
Zillions of 8-track tapes were made; Elvis and Beatles tapes are common tapes and not rare. Pristine 8-track tape labels without bubbling are priced slightly higher than tape labels with bubbles and wrinkles. Rips and writing reduce the tape price a little bit. Most collectors are interested in what is on the 8-track tape first, and the visual condition of the cartridge case second.
The cardboard outside cover on an 8-track tape is not important to most collectors unless it has the album picture on it. If your tape collection has cardboard cases on the 8-track tapes leave them on, if the tapes have no cardboard cases do not worry about it. Most cardboard cases were thrown away quickly when the tape would not fit into a carrying case with the cardboard wrapper on the tape.
Psychedelic and Hard Rock: Hard rock 8-track tapes go from 3.00 to about 15.00 depending upon the group. Elvis and Beatles go here. Desirable tapes are from Led Zeppelin, Animals, Blue Oyster Cult, Doors, Bob Dylan, and so on.
Punk: Punk music is hard to get on an 8-track tape; some collectors will pay more for it. Punk music starts at 4.00 each and goes up to whatever the market will pay. If selling at auction, list the date of the album as listed on the 8-track tape in small print. Some newer dates bring very high prices.
Rock: Radio rock tapes sell from 1.00 to about 5.00 each. These are the groups that seemed to be on the radio often like the Who, 3 Dog Night, Elton John, Queen, and so on. If you are in doubt about what groups are more popular than others, price all of these 8-tracks at about 3.00 each.
Bubble Gum & Soft Rock: Soft rock sells for about 1.00 to 3.00 each. Some popular names are higher. These are artists like the Carpenters, Anne Murray, Donnie Osmond, Sonny & Cher, and so on. If you are in doubt about what groups are more popular than others, price all of these 8-tracks at about 2.00 each.
Country Rock: Country rock music on 8-track tape goes for about 2.00 to 6.00 each. Johnny Cash 8-track tapes should also be placed into this price range as well.
Country: Country music tapes are the most common kind of 8-track tape. The market is flooded with most names and this keeps the resale prices down. Country music goes in the range of 1.00 to 4.00 each.
Jazz: Jazz tapes go for about 3.00 to 10.00 each. Soul & Blues: Soul & Blues tapes go for about 2.00 to 8.00 each. Big Band & Readers Digest Sets: Nobody wants these soft music tapes; they often go for just .25 to .50 each. Christmas: Christmas tapes sell for about 1.00 each, except for the Muppets and other children’s tapes go for about 3.00 each.
Home Recorded 8-track tapes can only be sold as used recording tapes. Never list in an ad what album has been recorded onto the tape or you risk trouble over selling a bootleg album. Some home recorded tapes hold up well to be recorded over again, and some do not. These tapes sell for about 1.00 each.
High Priced 8-Track Tapes:
Quadraphonic or Quad or Q8 tapes are your best tapes. It does not matter if this kind of 8-track tape is working or not for them to sell well. Be honest in your ad about pad condition and the fact that you have not tried the tape.
To identify a quad tape, look at the front of the label and then up into the upper left corner by the tape cartridge opening to see if there is an indented slot molded into the plastic. Quad tapes start at 5.00 each and can go up to over 100.00 each depending upon who is on them. Quad tapes are best sold at auction on eBay where interested quad tape collectors can bid against each other to bring prices up.
Pricing Carry Cases:
If your tape collection has a carrying case, sell it around your tapes that have bad pads as a way of helping them to sell. Cases in reasonable condition will sell in the range of 5.00 to 15.00 depending upon style and if a key is available for locking.
Selling to a Dealer:
Some dealers will buy 8-track tape collections, but they will not pay high prices for them because collections are easy to come by, and we all know how to do our own repairs. When offering your tape collection to a dealer, most will want you to list how many tapes you have, what genre most of the tapes are in, and a price. Listing every title is not normally necessary when selling an 8-track tape collection to a dealer.
How Are Some Selling Tapes So High Priced Online?
There are a few stores online that have very high prices on their 8-track tapes for sale. They hope that you shop with them. The rest of us enjoy buying, selling, and trading 8-track tapes at reasonable prices because there are so many of them out there to choose from. Vintage 8-track tape collecting is one of the last collectibles fields where most do not try to gouge on price because of age.