Between the 1960s and 1980s, vinyl's direct competitor was 8-track tapes. Eventually, compound cassettes took over, but you can still find these chunky bad boys that resemble Nintendo 64 cartridges in thrift stores around the world. Despite their less-than-glamorous pop culture reputation, the most valuable 8-track tapes frequently sell for around $1,000.
Valuable 8-Track Tapes to Check the Thrift Store For
|Most Valuable 8-Track Tapes
|Recent Sales Prices
|Dark Side of the Moon
|What's Going On
|Led Zeppelin IV
|The Joshua Tree
The most valuable 8-track tapes may run the gamut of music genres and decades, but what they have in common is that they're worth a ton of money. Stay on the lookout for these specific 8-tracks the next time you browse your local thrift shops or record stores.
Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim's Sinatra Jobim
Currently, the rarest and most valuable 8-track tape is the 1969 Sinatra Jobim collaboration record. Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim recorded an album together under Warner Bros., but it wasn't ever released on vinyl. It's believed that 3,500 8-tracks were made, and most of them destroyed, though a handful of copies have survived. In 2019, one of these rare 8-tracks sold for $4,200.
Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon
If you can find an 8-track of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon with a little notch in the upper right corner, you're in luck. These 8-tracks consistently sell for around $1,000 each, with one selling for $1,500 in 2021, and it's all thanks to that notch.
8-track tapes with those notches are made specifically to be able to be played in quadraphonic sounds. For laypeople, that just means a type of surround sound, as opposed to the monostereo that most of them were programmed to play at the time.
Marvin Gaye's What's Going On
Marvin Gaye's meteoric rise in Motown and subsequent shocking murder have made him one of the most famous Black artists to come out of the 1960s. That being said, not every one of his albums on 8-track is worth something. The seminal album, What's Going On, takes the cake for being the most valuable out of his catalog.
But, you only really see those 8-tracks selling well when they're factory sealed. For example, one factory-sealed copy sold in 2020 for $1,300.
KISS' Self-Titled Album
Thanks to Gene Simmons, KISS is one of the most profitable rock bands of the 20th century, despite not having the biggest lasting impact on music and pop culture. They were (and still are) a merchandise machine, and because of it, there are seriously devoted KISS collectors who want everything they've ever made.
Many of their 8-tracks are worth a few hundred bucks, but the really special one is their first self-titled album from 1974. Factory-sealed 8-tracks can sell for around $1,000, and one sold in 2022 for $1,200.
Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin IV
The most infamous of all Led Zeppelin's albums is Led Zeppelin IV, featuring the iconic wheat farmer cover. With hits like Black Dog and When the Levee Breaks, the album has stood the test of time. And the 8-track version does pretty well for itself on the music market.
Of course, you should always be looking for sealed copies because that's where the money's made. One sealed stereo 8-track of 'Zep IV sold for $1,000 in 2019.
U2's The Joshua Tree
U2 is another rock band whose vintage 8-tracks sell pretty well. Typically, sealed copies of their early albums will eke out with price tags between $500-$1,000. For instance, one sealed copy of The Joshua Treesold for $625 in 2021.
Iron Maiden's Self-Titled Album
For one surprising seller, Iron Maiden's self-titled 1980 album 8-track tape sold well above their $99 listed price. Because metal heads take their music camaraderie very seriously, it's only natural that they'd fight each other for a rarer piece of early metal history. Despite being unsealed and unrestored, this track sold for $577.89 in 2020.
Signs That Your 8-Tracks Might Be Worth Money
Although 8-tracks are one of the least collectible recording technologies, there are some tracks that sell for $500-$1,000 every year. These rare and special tapes do have a few characteristics in common, and they're all things you can look for in your parent's old 8-track bins.
- Factory-sealed tapes are always valuable. Look for original tape or cling wrap around the cases because factory-sealed ones are more valuable than pre-opened ones.
- Look for compilation album 8-tracks. Compilation albums of an artist's catalog are uniquely valuable when it comes to 8-tracks. This can be because fewer of them were made than traditional albums, making them a rare collectible.
- Find international copies of famous albums. Serious collectors want every possible cut of a song or album, and international copies can vary from the standard release tapes.
- Check for quadraphonic 8-track tapes. Quadraphonic 8-tracks with their notched upper corner are rare and highly collectible.
These Valuable 8-Track Tape Prices Are Music to Your Ears
Unlike with vinyl and compound cassette tapes, you don't often come across 8-track players in the wild, making 8-track tapes a dying collectible. Yet, there are some avid fans who're willing to drop a grand on the rare and unique tapes out there. So, don't toss all of those 8-track tapes out just yet - you might have something special on your hands.